April 5: New Part D Policies Address Opioid Crisis, FDA to Hold Public Hearing on CBD, and More

Posted on April 5th, 2019 in Industry Updates by Amplicare

Here's the latest in the world of pharmacy and healthcare:

1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to hear your experiences with cannabis-containing and -derived products, including CBD. This week, the Agency announced it will hold a public hearing on May 31 and provide the opportunity for written public comments. In a statement, Commissioner Scott Gottlieb noted that the FDA is looking for additional input that can inform its regulatory strategy, among other things. Read more from Drug Store News.

2. The global telemedicine market will hit $130.5 billion by 2025, predicts a new Global Market Insights study. The continued integration between the healthcare and IT sectors is likely to present new opportunities to reach rural areas and people without easy access to healthcare services. While inconsistencies in reimbursements for telemedicine services and lack of awareness does hinder some growth opportunities, the latest projections suggest the industry is growing much faster than many expected. Read more from MobiHealthNews.

3. This week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced new Medicare Part D policies to help fight the opioid crisis. Among the new rules are improved safety alerts at pharmacies for Part D beneficiaties filling initial opioid prescriptions or receiving high doses of opioids. Medicare drug plans will send pharmacies alerts to review certain opioid prescriptions before they are filled. Misuse of prescription opioids are a contributing factor to the opioid crisis, and these new policies are helping to provide additional safety measures for patients. Read more from CMS.gov.

4. In more CMS news, payment updates to Medicare Advantage and Part D plans have been finalized for 2020. Medicare Advantage rates increased 2.53%, up from CMS' originally planned raise of 1.59%. Notably, these updates now allow Medicare Advanatge insurers to offer additional, non-health benefits — such as an option to receive transportation for non-medical needs like grocery shopping — potentially giving them a leg up on traditional Medicare plans. Read more from Healthcare Finance.

5. When it's time to find a new plan, Medicare beneficiaries are looking online. A new report from eHealth revealed a 69% year-over-year increase of all its Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement enrollments in the fourth quarter of 2018. The company has also seen an increase in customers using online comparison tools for prescription drug coverage as well as the number who use mobile technology. Read more from FierceHealthcare.

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Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.