What We're Reading: ACA Plan Offerings Expand; Combo Pill Cuts CV Events; Biosimilar Savings

Health insurers are planning to expand their Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan offerings next year; a 4-in-1 pill can cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes; employers can see substantial savings with biosimilars if they implement a targeted effort to ecourage biosimilar use.

Insurers Will Expand ACA Plan Offerings

A handful of insurers are expanding their Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan offerings for next year, reflecting sharp rate increases that helped revenue catch up to claims costs, reported The Wall Street Journal. Oscar Insurance Group is the latest insurer to announce its growth next year, expanding to 6 new states. Cigna, Bright Health, Molina Healthcare, Centene, and Anthem have all indicated that they will expand their offerings next year. Some insurers are entering into states that have had few options. For example, Bright Health is expanding into Nebraska, where there is currently just 1 ACA insurer.

Combo Pill Cuts Heart Attacks, Strokes

A daily pill that contains 4 different medicines and costs pennies a day can cut the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events, which researchers say can be particularly impactful in nations where there is limited access to doctors, BBC News has reported. The pill includes aspirin, a statin, and 2 drugs to lower blood pressure. The study, published in The Lancet, found that the pill cut the number of heart attacks and strokes by one-third. The pill was given to 6800 people over the age of 50 years in more than 100 villages in Iran. After 5 years, there were 202 major CV events in the 3421 people taking the pill and 301 in the 3417 people not taking the pill.

Employers Could See Significant Savings With Biosimilars

Employers could see substantial savings from biosimilars; however, these savings won’t come without a targeted effort to encourage biosimilar use, including through plan design, according to The Center for Biosimilars®. The findings come from a report that used real-world claims data provided by a large manufacturing company with a high-deductible plan covering over 80,000 members. The researchers offer a base-case, an optimistic-case, and a best-case scenario for biosimilar savings based on different levels of utilization and price discounts for biosimilars of 17 biologics in the medical benefit that face or are likely to face biosimilar competition.