The Daily Rise: Monday, June 20

Coming Soon: Higher Premiums, Fewer Choices

Expect your health care premiums to go up next year — with fewer options for health care.

The Kaiser Family Foundation anticipates that premiums for the “benchmark silver Obamacare plans” will increase by an average of 10 percent in more than a dozen major metropolitan areas in 2017.

“Several factors will influence how premiums will change in 2017, and there is reason to believe that increases will be higher than in recent years,” the Kaiser Family Foundation noted in a recent analysis of the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplaces.

Patients will not only pay more — they’ll also have fewer choices. Half of the 14 major metropolitan markets analyzed will see a drop in the number of participating insurance companies.

The silver plans are considered an important bellwether — with more than two-thirds of marketplace enrollees choosing a silver plan.

State Spotlight: Step Therapy in New York

Patients in the Empire State are making incremental gains in the fight to end “fail first.”

The Times Union reports that both the New York State Assembly and State Senate have passed legislation that would create a clearer appeals process for reversing a mandatory step therapy policy. Step therapy forces patients to obtain cheaper but ineffective treatment before getting the treatments prescribed by their medical provider. The Assembly and Senate have passed a step therapy bill, which is designed to clamp down on so-called ”fail first” protocols that health insurers use when it comes to prescription medications.

“As a result of the strong actions of the State Senate and Assembly, patients in New York will now have better access to the medications prescribed by their healthcare providers with the passage of legislation that puts parameters around the insurance industry protocol known as step therapy or fail first,” the Global Health Living Foundation said in a statement.

Kudos to New York State Assemblyman Matthew Titone and Senator Catharine Young for sponsoring the two companion bills. Let’s hope Governor Andrew Cuomo follows their lead in siding with patients.

In Case You Missed It: ICER Cliff Notes

Earlier this month, ICER published a 185-page report on multiple myeloma. In case you missed it, we’re giving you the Patients Rising take on the 11-page cliff notes.

After assessing each question and giving you our patient-take on the ICER overview, we conclude the report was not necessary given the findings.

And no, it’s not just because we oppose value frameworks heavily weighted towards cost as they are currently being developed. It’s because they never should have picked myeloma in the first place. They basically answer their own question when they said step therapy should not be a protocol for insurers because most patients cycle through all of the available treatments anyway.

Click here for more on our analysis. If you want to read a myeloma doctor’s perspective, check out Dr. Brian Durie’s blog here.

I’m a Cervivor

As part of our ongoing effort to help patients connect with outstanding patient groups, we’re breaking out the Gloria Gaynor and Destiny’s Child to sing the praises of Cervivor.

The online community, learning tool, an advocacy resource helps patients with cervical cancer heal, connect and thrive.

“While everyone experiences cancer as an individual, we want to help survivors bring their collective wisdom together to create a community of advocates,” the organization says. “No matter how much or to what extent you want to get involved, we believe that each of you – each woman, survivor, advocate – has value and purpose in our collective commitment to ensuring that others do not suffer or die from cervical cancer.”

Check out Cervivor’s website.

You’ll receive updates about new resources, patient stories and insights, advocacy work, and alerts about patient-support events.

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