The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be covering COVID-19 tests, and for those original Medicare there is generally no copay (deductible applies). CMS is also permitting Medicare Advantage plans to waive cost-sharing for these tests.
CMS has posted a fact sheet to the agency's website to aid Medicare providers with information relating to the pricing of both the CDC and non-CDC COVID-19 tests. Read the fact sheet.
Visit the CMS "Current Emergencies" webpage for updates on CMS' response to this COVID-19.
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer finds that from 2001 to 2017, deaths from cancer (all sites combined) continued to decline. The report was released on March 12 and is published in the journal, Cancer.
The annual report, which represents the collaborative efforts of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries NAACCR), found decreases in the overall cancer death rates in all major racial and ethnic groups and among men, women, adolescents, young adults, and children. From 2012 to 2016 incidence of new cancers (for all cancers combined) held steady for men and increased slightly for women.
Over a four-year period (2013 to 2017), the report found:
Cancer death rates for men declined in 11 of the 19 most prevalent cancers, remained stable in four cancers (including prostate), and increased in four cancers (oral cavity and pharynx; soft tissue including heart, brain, and other nervous system; and pancreas).
Cancer death rates for women decreased in 14 of the 20 most common cancers, including (lung and bronchus, breast, and colorectal), but increased for cancers of the uterus; liver; brain and other nervous system; soft tissue including heart; and pancreas. Rates for cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx remained stable.
A companion report assesses progress on the federal government’s Healthy People 2020 objectives for four leading cancers: lung, prostate, breast cancer in women, and colorectal cancer. The targets for reducing death rates were met for all cancers combined as well as for lung, prostate, female breast, and colorectal cancers overall. However, these decreases were not consistent across all sociodemographic groups. Despite some progress over the past decade, the report points to the continued need to address disparities in cancer screening and in certain risk behaviors.
In addition, the report finds that Healthy People 2020 targets were not met for decreasing adult cigarette smoking; increasing success in smoking cessation; lowering excessive alcohol use; or reducing obesity—behaviors that have been associated with cancer risk.
On March, 2, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Sarclisa® (isatuximab-irfc) in combination with pomalidomide and dexamethasone (pom-dex) for the treatment of adults with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM) who have received at least two prior therapies including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor. Sarclisa is expected to be available to patients in the U.S. shortly.
Sarclisa is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the CD38 receptor on multiple myeloma cells.
Sarclisa has Orphan Drug Designation status from the FDA.
Read corporate press release.
On Feb. 5, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule and Advance Notice Part II.
The CY 2021/2022 Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule (CMS- 4190-P) would:
Download Medicare Advantage and Part D Advance Notice Part II.
The American Cancer Society’s annual report on U.S. cancer statistics, released Jan. 8, announced the greatest one-year decline in deaths from cancer since 1930. From 2016 to 2017, overall deaths from cancer dropped 2.2 percent. Between 1991 and 2017, the U.S. has seen the overall cancer death rate drop 29 percent.
In a statement, lead study author Rebecca Siegel, MPH, attributed the record drop to improved statistics related to lung cancer. While a decrease in smoking rates has contributed to the decline, Siegel also credited recent advances in lung cancer treatment for this year's record drop. These include surgical advances, improved diagnostic screening, as well as advances in radiation therapy and anticancer therapeutics.
The U.S. continues to see increases in new cases of certain cancers including cancers of the kidney, pancreas, liver, and oral cavity and pharynx (among non-Hispanic whites), and melanoma skin cancer.
Read the full report.
Read Facts & Figures 2020.
The proposed rule applies to drugs that meet FDA labeling standards and impose no risk to health and safety. The import rule excludes controlled substances, biological products and intravenous drugs. (FDA's Safe Importation Action Plan.)
Comments on the NPRM are being accepted for 75 days after publication in the Federal Register and comments on the draft guidance are being accepted for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.
Read the HHS press release.
Read Importation of Prescription Drugs Proposed Rule.
Read new draft guidance for industry.
On Dec. 16, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved enzalutamide (Xtandi, Astellas Pharma Inc.) for patients with metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer (mCSPC).
FDA previously approved enzalutamide for patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer.
Read the FDA announcement.
On Dec. 12, 2019, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm radiation oncology Stephen Hahn, MD, FASTRO, as the next Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
On Nov. 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued two rules that aim to increase price transparency and increase competition among all hospitals, group health plans, and health insurance issuers in the individual and group markets. The agency finalized the calendar year (CY) 2020 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) & Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public rule, and issued the Transparency in Coverage Proposed Rule. Both rules (final and proposed) require that pricing information be made publicly available.
The final "Price Transparency Requirements for Hospitals to Make Standard Charges Public" rule will require hospitals to make their standard charges public in two ways starting in January 1, 2021:
CMS fact sheet on final rule.
Access final rule.
CMS states that the proposed "Transparency in Coverage" rule is issued in response to an Executive Order dated June 24, 2019. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury are collectively issuing the proposed rule. As written, the rule would require that most employer-based group health plan and health insurance issuers provide up-front disclosure of price and cost-sharing information to participants, beneficiaries, and enrollees.
If finalized, the "Transparency in Coverage" proposed rule would require health plans to:
Disclose on a public website their negotiated rates for in-network providers and allowed amounts paid for out-of-network providers. Making this information available to the public is intended to drive innovation, support informed, price-conscious decision-making, and promote competition in the healthcare industry.
Access a CMS fact sheet on the proposed rule.
Access the proposed rule.
More details are available in the HHS press release.