With summer coming to an end, we’ve compiled the top August healthcare stories for busy healthcare marketing and PR professionals.
Reports of rising healthcare costs due to delayed care during the pandemic and rapid inflation is making headlines. The Biden administration is attempting to combat this inflation, signing an Inflation Reduction Act into law which will extend Affordable Care Act subsides through 2025. On the COVID-19 front, more adolescents ages 12 to 17 can get vaccinated with the emergency authorization of Novavax’s two-dose vaccine.
On December 31, Amazon Care, a virtual clinic for its own employees and other outside employers, will no longer be available. The decision only affects Amazon Care, not the company’s other healthcare projects.
This is the most significant healthcare legislation since the Affordable Care Act was passed over a decade ago. The act is set to lower the cost of prescription drugs, lower out-of-pocket medication costs for Medicare beneficiaries, penalize pharmaceutical firms for raising drug prices faster than the rate of inflation and extend Affordable Care Act subsidies through 2025.
An investment of $98.9 million in grant funding by the U.S. Department of Health will enable Navigator organizations to retain staff to help consumers find affordable health coverage for the 2023 Open Enrollment Period.
Hospitals will be required to report Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) starting in 2023. This CMS measure set, proposed by the Physicians Foundation, will give physicians the data to fuel research and creative solutions to medical barriers.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say its highest market basket rate update in 25 years can be attributed to higher-than-expected growth in hospital worker compensation.
LATEST RESEARCH & EMERGING TRENDS
The Department of Health and Human Services has found that 5.2 million people got healthcare coverage since 2020, bringing the uninsured rate to an all-time low. The largest changes in the uninsured rate for lower-income Americans came in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
According to the 2022 National Health Benefits Analysis, employers are turning away from group plans and toward individual ACA marketplace plans. The report also showed that employees are for the change, with three out of five choosing a marketplace plan when give the option.
The American Hospital Association says patients have delayed their health needs, leading to longer hospital stays and adding to hospitals’ financial difficulties. The report showed that the length of an average patient stay rose nearly 10% in 2021.
With the introduction of new regulatory requirements, rising expectations among consumers and new competitive threats, managing costs is a new priority for payers. In a recent survey, 46% of health plan leaders said cost is among their top three challenges next to driving operational efficiencies.
Medical claims are slowly growing back to normal levels after patients postponed care towards the beginning of the pandemic. While this 6.5% increase is more than double the 3% increase employers experienced in 2022, it is still below the 9.1% increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Recent analysis shows that increasing healthcare costs have been led by hospitals and nursing homes as opposed to other medical care spend, which has yet to be fully impacted by 2022’s rapid inflation.
It is estimated that 95% of Americans over 16 have acquired some level of immunity to COVID-19. As a result, the CDC says people no longer need to stay six feet away from another or quarantine when in contact with an infected person.
Novavax’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents between ages 12 and 17 has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA.