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Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.

May 24: CBD Can Help Treat Opioid Addiction, CMS Targets Spread Pricing, and More

Posted on in by Amplicare Team

Here’s the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know:

1. CBD is an effective treatment for heroin addiction, says a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study found that when patients with heroin addiction were given Epidiolex, they reported reduced cravings for heroin and lower levels of anxiety. Epidiolex is the first FDA-approved cannabis-based medication.
Read more from CNN.

2. CMS is targeting PBM spread pricing with a new regulatory guidance. Issued last week, the guidance aims to help states monitor and audit Medicaid Managed Care and CHIP health plans and clarify how to account for spread pricing when calculating medical loss ratio. Spread pricing has come under scrutiny recently for its connection to rising drug costs.
Read more from CMS.gov.

3. Patient engagement on virtual health benefits is still a struggle for plans. Results from a new survey conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans found that many patients are skeptical about virtual care, even though it is offered by the majority of commercial and Medicaid managed care plans. Despite this, payers still remain confident in these benefits and physician adoption has grown significantly.
Read more from Healthcare Dive.

4. Patient familiarity with CMS’ Star Ratings system is on the rise. According to a new survey, 32% of Medicare Advantage plan members with chronic conditions said they were familiar with the system, up from 22% in 2018. Nearly half of those familiar used the system to help choose a plan for 2019 enrollment. Of those who weren’t, 74% said they would use the ratings to choose plans in the future.
Read more from Yahoo Finance.

5. Opioid prescriptions are down in California, reflecting a larger national trend of doctors reducing prescriptions of the drug. New data from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System showed that insurance claims for opioids decreased almost 19% in a single year. The number of new users prescribed large doses and new users prescribed more than a week’s supply also dropped significantly.
Read more from Kaiser Health News.

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