Insurance rumblings: As far as we can tell these are not widespread tactics but some insurance companies are limiting the use of drug copays that previously counted against deductibles. This is particularly troublesome for rare disease patients since specialty drugs can be very expensive and insurance deductibles very high. Here is a sample of a letter sent to a patient by his/her insurance company.
“The availability and use of drug co-pay cards from drug manufacturers have become increasingly popular, especially with high-cost specialty medications. The use of these cards, in addition to your pharmacy benefit identification card, can reduce your out-of-pocket costs. However, they also impact your responsibility in meeting deductible and out of pocket calculations with your own dollars. We are not limiting the use of these drug copay cards in the specialty pharmacy but drug copay card dollars WILL NOT be included in your deductible and out of pocket maximum (member share). Only your true out of pocket costs will be applied to your deductible and out of pocket accumulated benefit totals.”
Some reports have focused on the overall impact of these co-pay card programs in rising drug costs. More to come on this. Jill Sisco, president of Acromegaly Community, a leading patient support group, tells me this is not unusual and has happened in the past. We will continue to monitor and report on these issues and any related developments.
Scientific American reports on 10 start-ups that have the potential to change healthcare. The work described in this Scientific American article focuses on G-protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), which are molecules that help cells talk to each other, and play key roles in cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hormonal and neurological disorders. This is closely related to the work currently being done by Dr. Scott Struthers from Crinetics Pharmaceuticals, recently featured in a Pituitary World News podcast. You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the following link: Looking into the world of new drug discovery and development. The article features several other noteworthy developments. Read more here
The New York Times reports on a new study that points out a regular diet of exercise may change the microbiome (the trillions of bugs that live in our gut) in ways that can improve health and metabolism. Read the article here It is important to note that even though the initial thinking and results are encouraging, more study is needed. Regardless the overall benefits of exercise are well documented.
The Hippocratic Post which blogs on medical stories published an interesting piece on the whole story of hormones. The article reviews each endocrine gland throughout the body and focuses on what can happen when these glands start acting up. It lists the different conditions, symptoms, and treatments for each gland. The point Is that this knowledge, as basic as it seems, should encourage people to seek help as soon as any of these symptoms are noticed. That would result is many disorders detected early. Although it is obviously a very simplistic description it offers a comprehensive review in a short article. Read the article here.
Berkeley Wellness reports on the best diets for people pre-diabetes a condition that causes people to have elevated blood sugar levels. The article mentions a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2017. Click here to read the article
Another interesting read from Berkeley Wellness is this article on hypothyroidism, a condition that affects up to 10% of Americans and it’s often “subclinical” and undiagnosed according to this article. The article presents a general overview of the condition its causes, diagnosis, risk, and treatments.
Stay tuned for more relevant, interesting news in our upcoming “briefings” series published periodically by Pituitary World News.
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