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We analyzed specialty drug coverage decisions issued by the largest US commercial health plans to examine variation in coverage and the consistency of those decisions with indications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Across 3,417 decisions, 16 percent of the 302 drug-indication pairs were covered the same way by all of the health plans, and 48 percent were covered the same way by 75 percent of the plans. Specifically, 52 percent of the decisions were consistent with the FDA label, 9 percent less restrictive, 2 percent mixed (less restrictive in some ways but more restrictive in others), and 33 percent more restrictive, while 5 percent of the pairs were not covered. Health plans restricted coverage of drugs indicated for cancer less often than they did coverage of drugs indicated for other diseases. Using multivariate regression, we found that several drug-related factors were associated with less restrictive coverage, including indications for orphan diseases or pediatric populations, absence of safety warnings, time on the market, lack of alternatives, and expedited FDA review. Variations in coverage have implications for patients' access to treatment and health system costs.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Health affairs (Project Hope)
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A stand-alone drug plan offered by insurers and other private companies to beneficiaries that receive their Medicare Part A and/or B benefits through the Original Medicare Plan. It includes Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans that do not offer prescription drug coverage and Medicare Cost Plans offering Medicare prescription drug coverage. The plan was enacted as the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 with coverage beginning January 1, 2006.
State plans prepared by the State Health Planning and Development Agencies which are made up from plans submitted by the Health Systems Agencies and subject to review and revision by the Statewide Health Coordinating Council.
Alternative health care delivery mechanisms, such as PREFERRED PROVIDER ORGANIZATIONS or other health insurance services or prepaid plans (other than HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATIONS), that meet Medicare qualifications for a risk-sharing contract. (From Facts on File Dictionary of Health Care Management, 1988)
Health insurance plans for employees, and generally including their dependents, usually on a cost-sharing basis with the employer paying a percentage of the premium.
Insurance coverage of a physical or mental health condition, disability, or illness existing before health insurance is applied for or enrolled in.
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