During the height of the pandemic, telehealth use exploded, going from 1% use to 13% for outpatient appointments from March-August of 2020. As more people began to go back in-person to the doctor, telehealth has waned.
However, telehealth for mental health and substance abuse is still going strong. From March-August of 2020 telehealth for mental health and substance abuse rose from 1% to 40% and now that number holds steady at 36%. Read more about telehealth for mental health and substance abuse.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) recently filed a lawsuit against Walgreens, alleging that the major pharmacy retailer overcharged health plans for prescription drugs. In the lawsuit, BCBS alleges that Walgreens, which is supposed to charge health plans the same price as the public, inflated prices by five, ten, and 20 times higher than cash customers. Read more about the lawsuit.
Source: Bloomberg Law
The Hospital Price Transparency Rule that went into effect in January requires every hospital in the United States to provide pricing for all their services. Recently Turquoise Health launched a transparency scorecard that scores hospitals on a scale of one to five stars based on the completeness of their chargemaster file. The higher the number of stars, the more complete the file is. Scores of two to three mean that critical information is missing. The scorecard is currently available for use by the public although the official launch is later this spring. Check out the scorecard here!
Benefits managers should consider adding harm reduction program coverage for employees who struggle with addiction. Harm reduction is a process in which the person with addiction aims to reduce or limit substance use rather than abstain completely. Harm reduction meets people where they are at in their recovery process. Some may be unwilling to stop completely, so harm reduction treatment can help those who aren’t quite ready to totally abstain. Some forms of harm reduction treatment include medication-assisted treatment (MAT) which uses medications to help people reduce dependence on substances, especially opioids and alcohol. Read more about providing this option to your employees.