From The Well…

Monday, October 8, 2018



Insurance Commissioner awards drug formulary contract

The Offices of the Insurance Commissioner has awarded a $175,000 contract to Public Consulting Group, Inc., “for review of insurers’ prescription drug formularies to better protect consumers and to prevent discrimination in the pricing of prescription drugs.” Funding for the project is contingent upon the OIC receiving a grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The grant award announcement is expected by June 05.


According to online information, “The vendor shall review formularies for all Affordable Care Act-compliant plans in the individual and small group markets…for compliance with all applicable state and federal laws…” Current tools used by the OIC “are not able to analyze what medications should be covered and why.”



Blue Cross giving opioid reversal toolkits to large employers. Modern Healthcare reports, “Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts… is the first health plan in the state to give opioid overdose reversal toolkits to five large employers, including its own employees, through a test that could ultimately extend to all employers it covers.”


Test strip can detect fentanyl. The Atlantic reports, “There’s evidence that a two-inch fentanyl test strip can help drug users avoid overdosing. When dipped into a drug, the strip reveals—with the presence, or absence, of a red line—whether that drug contains fentanyl. Researchers suspect that if more drug users had access to the strips, they could test their drugs and use less, or possibly not use them at all.”



Nation reports Ojeda ‘actually has a shot.’ The Nation reports, “Come November, [Third District Congressional candidate Richard] Ojeda will be attempting to win as a Democrat in a congressional district that Trump carried by nearly 50 points, and it looks like he actually has a shot. Recent polls by Monmouth University and The New York Times/Siena College show him ahead by six points and trailing by eight, respectively, in a race against Republican Carol Miller, the majority whip of West Virginia’s Statehouse. Miller, a bison farmer with a stake in a car-dealership chain, is the daughter of a GOP congressman running on a pro-gun, pro-industry, anti-immigration, and anti-Obamacare platform.”




Arkansas governor proposes state reorganization plan. The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports, “[Arkansas] Gov. Asa Hutchinson … proposed a state government reorganization plan that would consolidate the 42 state agencies that report to him to 15.”


Ballot measure addressing how Supreme Court spends its money has gotten little attention.  Governing reports, “West Virginia politics has been roiled this fall by the impeachment trials of all the sitting justices on the state Supreme Court. But a ballot measure meant to address the underlying issue that led to the trials — how the judiciary spends its funds — has gotten little attention.”


Carmichael says pay raise will happen. MetroNews reports, “State Senate President Mitch Carmichael said … on MetroNews ‘Talkline’ the proposed five percent pay increase for teachers and other state workers made earlier this week by Gov. Jim Justice will happen.”


States look to tax drug companies to pay for opioid crisis. Governing reports, “States haven’t been very successful at taxing drug companies to help pay for the opioid crisis. But that won’t stop them from trying again next year.”



Flea-borne typhus hits downtown Los Angles. KCAL reports, “An outbreak of flea-borne typhus has hit downtown Los Angeles, the county Department of Public Health said…”


Out-of-network coverage becoming rare. Robert Wood Johnson reports, “With the growing use of managed care plan designs and narrow networks, [out-of-network] coverage is becoming increasingly rare.”