One intriguing chart caught my eye. As you can see below, pharmacy premiums rose by 72% in Massachusetts after the state’s health care reform plan was launched in 2006. Meanwhile, premiums rose by only 27% in the rest of the country over the same period.
Harbinger of the U.S. future or just another foolish Bay State tradition, like rooting for the New England Patriots? (Hey, I live in Philadelphia...)
All four Managed Care Digest Series reports can be downloaded for free from this page. I personally find the reports to be less useful than they should be because every single page is busily crammed with charts, tables, and text. Nonetheless, I recommend the series as a valuable reference resource.
The HMO-PPO Rx Digest will be the most interesting report for most Drug Channels readers. It provides an overview of data on health maintenance organizations (HMOs), point-of-service (POS) plans, preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The second half of the report (starting on page 36) looks at pharmacy benefits, drugs costs, and utilization.
THE MASSACHUSETTS EXAMPLE
The HMO-PPO Rx Digest (page 40) includes the chart below under the heading "Comprehensive Reform in Massachusetts May Predict the Nation’s Path.” (PMPM=Per Member, Per Month)
Here’s what the report said:
“The Massachusetts Health Care Reform Plan, legislation for which began taking effect at the end of 2006, represented the first statewide implementation of a universal health care mandate. The plan required that all adults have health insurance, and that all employers provide insurance for their workers. In addition, Medicaid enrollment eligibility was expanded for children. By May 2007, more than 100,000 previously uninsured residents had secured health coverage. As a consequence, individual pharmacy premiums rose sharply over this period. Whether this trend holds true in the wake of national health care reform remains to be seen.”House Republicans have set January 12 as the date for a vote on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Expect more examples like this chart to pop up during the debate.