HHS Secretary Alex Azar declares a public health emergency in California over ongoing wildfires; a new formulary from Express Scripts will encourage drug makers to move away from paying rebates and instead keep list prices low; part of Oscar Health’s expansion efforts has brought the insurer to Florida, but the company has said its efforts are being “stymied” by Florida Blue.
The wildfires in California have caused HHS Secretary Alex Azar to declare a public health emergency, which gives CMS beneficiaries and their providers greater flexibility to meet health needs resulting from the wildfires. Two hospitals and 8 healthcare facilities have been evacuated, and a smoke advisory has been issued for portions of Los Angeles County. People with lung conditions are faced with significant health threats. HHS has also deployed regional emergency coordinators to serve as HHS’ primary representatives for emergency response and recovery.
A new formulary from Express Scripts will encourage drug makers to move away from paying rebates and instead keep list prices low. Reuters reported that the new National Preferred Flex Formulary will be available starting January 1. The formulary will streamline the introduction of authorized alternatives to branded drugs and reduce reliance on branded products, according to Express Scripts. The new list is largely similar to the pharmacy benefit manager’s National Preferred Formulary.
Part of Oscar Health’s expansion efforts has brought the insurer to Florida, but the company has said its efforts are being “stymied” by Florida Blue, according to Forbes. Oscar has sued Florida Blue, accusing it of working as a monopoly by preventing brokers from doing business with other health plans. Oscar is seeking to end Florida Blue’s “exclusive broker policy.” Florida Blue, which covers more than 1 million customers in the Affordable Care Act marketplace alone, said Oscar’s suit has no merit.