One of the biggest adjustments for us in moving to New York was selling our cars (much love, Connie the Civic). But, in reading Austin Frakt’s NYT story this week about the impact of traffic on health – from pollution-exacerbated respiratory problems to stress and an increase in domestic violence – we are feeling uncharacteristically thankful today for the New York subway.
This week saw a lot of news about the relationship between climate change and health, which brings us to TWTW: Climate Edition. So whether you’re under the weather (get it?), or feelin’ fabulous, enjoy this week’s roundup.
It's not easy being green
In a new analysis out this week, London-based nonprofit Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) reported on the environmental impact of over 7,000 companies. Climate change is a challenge for corporate America and many sectors are bracing for the business impact of global warming. For example, “The Coca-Cola Co. wonders if there will still be enough water to make Coke.” (Meg is stockpiling Diet Coke now).
What’s this got to do with healthcare? Well, a lot. Based on a report by Axios health reporter Sam Baker (#nerdgoals), the emerging health risks from climate change actually provide a “business opportunity the pharmaceutical industry is starting to prepare for.” Don’t just take his word for it: many large pharmaceutical companies have all said as much.
But it’s not all coming up eco-friendly roses. For a healthcare industry that’s already facing widespread reputational issues, this storyline poses a significant PR risk. And it cuts to the age-old conundrum for the industry in the US: how do we navigate the ethics of an industry that inherently profits off of people’s sickness and suffering? Whatever your company’s answer may be, it’s critical to make sure your team is aligned and are comfortable communicating it in this new context.
Looking for wild Saturday night plans? Explore the full report and see which healthcare companies got an “A.”
You'll pay what?
Two interesting proposals arose this week regarding insurance policy and the price of drugs. While one could potentially lower prices for patients, the other might do the opposite. Consider it a sort of yin and yang between Medicare Part D and ACA patients.
First, the savings: it’s a bit complicated.
What: The Administration is providing insurance companies who administer Part D plans the flexibility to keep more of the savings they negotiate on behalf of patients.
Why: The idea behind this new experiment, called the Part D Payment Modernization model, is that insurers will be incentivized to better negotiate with drug companies. Then patients, who pay 5% of the cost of drugs in the catastrophic phase, will end up paying less. The program will begin in 2020 for insurers who choose to participate.
The other proposal out this week has to do with private plans…and it’s a doozy.
What: Patients with ACA plans who choose to use a branded drug when a generic is available would see less of their co-payments going towards their deductible. Insurers would be able to only put the value of the generic drug copay towards the limit under the proposal, instead of the full copay for the branded therapy. So, if a patient has a $20 copay for branded, but a $5 one for generic, even though they spent the $20 for their drug, only $5 would go towards their limit. Coupon cards would also not count towards the limit.
What does that mean: Basically, many patients will have to spend more before insurance picks up the tab for branded drugs…some as much as $8,200 more! The public can submit comments on the proposal through February 19.
We’re keeping an eye on how these policies play out and if you have any questions, me or RRM Senior Strategist Paul Tyahla
Who wrote this? The managing editors of TWTW are Randi Kahn, who is craving all soup all the time, and Dana Davis, who has seen both of the Fyre Festival documentaries. Syneos Health Communications' Reputation & Risk Management Practice is a team of healthcare communications consultants, policy-shapers and crisis response specialists. We provide unique solutions to the evolving communications challenges in today’s healthcare industry, using evidence-based approaches to help our clients successfully navigate the most sensitive of situations.
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Image credits: Robot by iconsmind.com from the Noun Project, Awareness Ribbon by Bohdan Burmich from the Noun Project, global by Ayub Irawan from the Noun Project, Money by Guilherme Furtado from the Noun Project, clock by Pavel N., RU