June 1997

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Vials with microchips, beeping blister packs and other new pharmaceutical delivery media, even if they are a bit pricey, could lower overall health care costs.
David L. Bloom
Smoking, fat-filled diets, endless gazing at the tube — they're disastrous for health and bad for the bottom line. So physicians and managed care organizations are grappling with ways to put more life into the American life style.
Peter Wehrwein
Managed care contracts are most practices' lifeblood now, and it's a buyer's market. Demonstrate your quality-improvement systems and show health plans hard data if you want your group to land the best contracts.
Howard Salmon
Rick Carter
Americans are hungry for medical information, and they're getting more of it than ever. Some are even retaining consultants who specialize in helping them get the most from doctors and health plans.
Jean Lawrence
News that his HMO is being sold to Malik Hasan, M.D.'s fast-growing Foundation Health Systems Inc. doesn't change Mickey Herbert's role as an industry advocate and chairman of the American Association of Health Plans.
Managed care-induced hassles are not universal — nor are they constant. Some have receded over the years. Location, type of plan and physician specialty explain much of why some doctors suffer and others don't.
Linda Wolfe Keister
Formal disease management is one of the more vibrant areas of health care, with drug manufacturers, health plans and independent companies all greatly interested. Here's a plan for putting such a program together.
Mary C. Gurnee, Pharm.D.
Robert V. Da Silva, M.S., R.Ph.

Managed Care’s Top Ten Articles of 2016

There’s a lot more going on in health care than mergers (Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna) creating huge players. Hundreds of insurers operate in 50 different states. Self-insured employers, ACA public exchanges, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care plans crowd an increasingly complex market.

Major health care players are determined to make health information exchanges (HIEs) work. The push toward value-based payment alone almost guarantees that HIEs will be tweaked, poked, prodded, and overhauled until they deliver on their promise. The goal: straight talk from and among tech systems.

They bring a different mindset. They’re willing to work in teams and focus on the sort of evidence-based medicine that can guide health care’s transformation into a system based on value. One question: How well will this new generation of data-driven MDs deal with patients?

The surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. There’s hope for sufferers of a different form of MS. By homing in on CD20-positive B cells, ocrelizumab is able to knock them out and other aberrant B cells circulating in the bloodstream.

A flood of tests have insurers ramping up prior authorization and utilization review. Information overload is a problem. As doctors struggle to keep up, health plans need to get ahead of the development of the technology in order to successfully manage genetic testing appropriately.

Having the data is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. Applying its computational power to the data, a company called RowdMap puts providers into high-, medium-, and low-value buckets compared with peers in their markets, using specific benchmarks to show why outliers differ from the norm.
Competition among manufacturers, industry consolidation, and capitalization on me-too drugs are cranking up generic and branded drug prices. This increase has compelled PBMs, health plan sponsors, and retail pharmacies to find novel ways to turn a profit, often at the expense of the consumer.
The development of recombinant DNA and other technologies has added a new dimension to care. These medications have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and many of the other 80 or so autoimmune diseases. But they can be budget busters and have a tricky side effect profile.

Shelley Slade
Vogel, Slade & Goldstein

Hub programs have emerged as a profitable new line of business in the sales and distribution side of the pharmaceutical industry that has got more than its fair share of wheeling and dealing. But they spell trouble if they spark collusion, threaten patients, or waste federal dollars.

More companies are self-insuring—and it’s not just large employers that are striking out on their own. The percentage of employers who fully self-insure increased by 44% in 1999 to 63% in 2015. Self-insurance may give employers more control over benefit packages, and stop-loss protects them against uncapped liability.