Capsules: Biggest Insurer Shocked With Hepatitis C Costs; Incomplete Face-To-Face Doctor Exams Put Home Health Agencies In Tight Spot

Now on Kaiser Health News’ blog, Jay Hancock reports on UnitedHealth Group’s first quarter results: “UnitedHealth Group spent $100 million on hepatitis C drugs in the first three months of the year, much more than expected, the company said Thursday. The news helped drive down the biggest insurance company’s stock and underscores the challenge for all health care payers in covering Sovaldi, an expensive new pill for hepatitis C” (Hancock, 4/17). 

Also on the blog, Lisa Gillespie reports on an OIG report about Medicare’s face-to-face encounter rule: “The cost of caring for homebound patients is rising, and the government is trying to get a better grip on spending by requiring doctors to certify — with face to face examinations — Medicare beneficiaries’ eligibility for home health services, including intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech therapy and part-time home health aide services. The OIG estimated that $2 billion in inappropriate payments were made in 2011 and 2012 because of inadequate compliance with the rule” (Gillespie, 4/18). Check out what else is on the blog.

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