Health care costs

The big picture

The coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped drug price increases
The coronavirus pandemic hasn't stopped drug price increases

61 of the drugs with price hikes were being used to treat coronavirus.

Jun 29, 2020 - Health
The coronavirus is slowing health care spending

Delayed care is beating COVID-19 cases right now.

May 21, 2020 - Health
Watch: As Medicare for All debate rages on, costs keep going up

Part 5 of our What Matters 2020 series.

Mar 6, 2020 - Health
The health care debate we ought to be having

Health care is eating up more and more of Americans’ paychecks every year.

Dec 22, 2019 - Politics & Policy
Deep Dive: The drug pricing maze

It can be enormously frustrating for patients — and profitable for everyone else.

Nov 17, 2018 - Health

All Health care costs stories

23 hours ago - Health

Medicare Advantage enrollment soars almost 9%

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

More than 28.5 million seniors and people with disabilities were enrolled in a private Medicare Advantage plan as of Jan. 1, an 8.8% increase from the same time in 2021, according to new federal data analyzed by Axios.

Why it matters: Enrollment in the controversial MA program continues to grow, and based on prior full-year trends, enrollment in 2022 likely will surpass the federal government's prediction of 29.5 million people.

Jan 14, 2022 - Health

Big Pharma's last-ditch lobbying blitz for Aduhelm

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pharmaceutical industry is ready to pressure Medicare and demand the agency reverse its restrictive coverage plan for new Alzheimer's treatments like Aduhelm.

The big picture: Doctors, researchers and health policy experts praised Medicare's proposal as a way to get more data to prove whether Aduhelm works, but with billions of dollars and many other similar Alzheimer's drugs on the line, the industry is prepared for war.

Jan 13, 2022 - Health

FTC cracks down on DaVita's market power

DaVita has caught the FTC's attention. Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission has the dialysis industry in its crosshairs after it finalized restrictions on DaVita's latest deal in Utah.

The big picture: The FTC under Lina Khan has been heavily focused on antitrust authority over Big Tech, but the agency also has taken more critical looks at health care deals that further hurt competition and could lead to higher prices.

Jan 11, 2022 - Health

Medicare proposes covering controversial Alzheimer's drug, with restrictions

Aduhelm's list price for the average patient is more than $28,000 per year. Photo: Biogen

Medicare has proposed covering the controversial Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm, but only for patients who enroll in a randomized clinical study.

Why it matters: Medicare is sending a signal to the pharmaceutical industry that Aduhelm — an IV medication with unproven clinical benefit, serious side effects and a $28,000 annual price tag — and other Alzheimer's drugs must show they work to gain Medicare's full coverage and payment.

Jan 10, 2022 - Health

Insurers to cover costs for at-home COVID tests starting Saturday

COVID-19 rapid at-home test kits rest on a table at a free distribution event for those who received vaccination shots or booster shots on Jan. 7 in Los Angeles. Photo: Mario Tama via Getty Images

Health insurers will be required to cover costs for over-the-counter, at-home COVID tests starting this Saturday, the Health and Human Services Department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Under President Biden's strategy to expand access to free COVID testing, insurers will either cover costs upfront or reimburse people after they submit claims.

Jan 10, 2022 - Health

Biden administration wants Medicare to reconsider premium hike

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Because Biogen lowered the price of Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm by 50%, the federal government should "reassess" the large pending increase on Medicare's 2022 premiums that cover physician and outpatient care, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement today.

Why it matters: The historically high Medicare premium hike, during a midterm election year, was due in large part to Aduhelm's high price tag.

Jan 10, 2022 - Health

What to watch at JPM22

JPM in 2020, the last time the conference has been in-person and a respiratory virus' dream. Photo: Bob Herman/Axios

The annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference kicks off today, and it's virtual for the second straight year after companies raised concerns about rising coronavirus cases.

Why it matters: Health care is as profitable as ever amid the global pandemic, and companies are eager to tell deep-pocketed power brokers why they should continue to plow more money into the industry and expect hefty returns.

Jan 6, 2022 - Health

NorthShore, Edward-Elmhurst hospitals around Chicago merge

NorthShore is consolidating the hospital market in affluent Chicago suburbs. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

NorthShore University HealthSystem and Edward-Elmhurst Health have merged into a nine-hospital system that will have roughly $5 billion in annual revenue and a dominant presence in Chicago's affluent north and west suburbs.

The big picture: The pandemic has slowed down hospital merger activity, according to health care financial advisory firm Ponder & Co., but it didn't completely stop all deals — especially large mega-mergers like this NorthShore-Edward deal that pursue regional consolidation.

Jan 4, 2022 - Health

The big-ticket drugs that have higher prices in 2022

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Drug companies raised the prices on hundreds of medications on Jan. 1, with most prices up 5% to 6% on average.

Why it matters: The start of the new year is the most popular time for drug companies to hike prices, and even though high drug prices remain one of the biggest political health care issues, increases in 2022 are tracking in line with other recent years.

Jan 1, 2022 - Health

Many surprise medical bills are now illegal

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Effective today, federal law bans many types of out-of-network medical bills and puts the onus on doctors and health insurance companies to resolve their payment disputes.

Why it matters: Consumers can breathe a sigh of relief because, in many scenarios, they should no longer face unexpected charges from doctors who are not in their insurance networks.

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