What We're Reading: Medicare Premium Increases Will Be Modest

What we're reading, November 11, 2016: Medicare premium increases lower than expected for high earners; HHS' Office of Inspector General will increase pharmaceutical oversight; and a study on the safety of mail-order abortion pills.

Premium increases in Medicare will be lower than initially projected. For 70% of Medicare beneficiaries, the increase will only be 4% over last year, and for the remaining beneficiaries who are high earners, the increase will be 10%, according to AP. The increase for high earners is well below the initial projected increase of as much as 22%, which had been in a June report.

The HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will focus its attention on drug pricing amid concerns about the rising price of prescription medications. STAT reported that the OIG already creates such reports, but it will widen its focus to other issues, such as waste when treatments are distributed in single vials. Drug oversight is becoming a top priority for the agency.

A study is looking into the safety of abortion pills delivered by mail. According to The New York Times, researchers are trying to determine if abortions induced by medicine instead of surgery can be done safely at home with an online consultation with a doctor. Abortion opponents find the at-home, mail-order abortion pills dangerous, but advocates say the ability to receive these pills at home is a needed option for some women as access to abortion is being restricted.