Data shows drug prices spiked seven percent last year

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new inflation numbers today.

Turns out consumer goods are about 1.5 percent more expensive today than they were last fall.

It’s the usual culprits — gas, housing. But deep among the data was a figure which grabbed our attention.

Prescription drugs have gone up 7 percent since last year — the highest annual increase since 1992.

It's an historic price spike, but health policy people aren’t exactly sure what’s behind it.

Yale economist Fiona Scott Morton said a new class of powerful drugs — sometimes called biologics — could be helping fuel costs.

These are treatments for conditions like MS and rheumatoid arthritis and “autoimmune disease, cancer drugs, and they are often quite expensive $100k, $200k a year,” she said.

Scott Morton said manufacturers have been aggressively raising their prices on these potent drugs, sometimes by double digits.

Click the link for more.

Report: States Increase Cost Controls To Manage Medicaid Growth

With a record 73 million people enrolled in Medicaid, most states next year will tighten controls on spending to battle swelling budgets in the public health insurance program for low-income and disabled Americans, according to a report released Thursday.

The leading strategies to contain costs are already used in some states, but they will soon take root in more places, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in its annual 50-state survey. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

They include hiring private managed care companies to deliver services to enrollees, shifting more long-term care services from nursing homes to community settings and restricting the use of ever-more expensive prescription drugs. The push to stretch dollars further is a reaction to next year’s reduction in federal aid for states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia did so and starting Jan. 1, they will begin paying 5 percent of their expansion costs. The federal government paid all the expansion costs in 2014 through 2016.

State Medicaid spending is projected to jump to 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2.9 percent in 2016 and 3.8 percent the previous year, the report said.

In contrast, total Medicaid spending will grow 4.5 percent in 2017 — which is lower than the 5.9 percent in 2016 and 10.5 percent in 2015, according to the report said.

Click the link for more.

Gilsbar is in America's Top 100 Healthiest Employers

Gilsbar is honored to be the recipient of the prestigious "Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America Award." This award is the highest, most-coveted distinction, with only 100 companies in the US earning the designation each year. The complete list of this year's winners is available here, with Gilsbar placing 54th overall.

Doug Layman, Gilsbar's President of Health & Life, said "Our employees are truly our greatest asset and our corporate health strategy will always be focused on helping them to improve their overall well-being. We are very honored to be recognized as one of America's Healthiest Employers!"

Click the link for more.