How much will you have to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine?

October 30, 2020
Ending the week and month with takeaways from our discussions with patient advocates—including what you need to know about your absentee ballot. In other news, we have the details of the Trump administration’s plan for coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, as…
BIO

Ending the week and month with takeaways from our discussions with patient advocates—including what you need to know about your absentee ballot. In other news, we have the details of the Trump administration’s plan for coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, as well as a new partnership to make cosmetic bottles from recycled carbon. (780 words, 3 minutes, 50 seconds)

 

How you can make sure your vote is counted

4 days until Election Day. Make your voting plan at www.bio.org/vote.
 
 

During the closing keynote of BIO’s Patient and Health Advocacy Digital Summit, we got a look at the latest polling data from David Wasserman, Senior Election Analyst at The Cook Political Report. Our takeaway? Make your plan to ensure your vote is counted—right now.

Expect “massive” turnout—and some challenges, said Wasserman. 

“We’re headed for historic turnout in the midst of a pandemic that’s made it harder for election administrators to grant access to the ballot in a safe and secure way,” he said. Many states and counties have struggled to meet the historic demand for absentee ballots and ensure everyone has a fair chance at voting. Meanwhile, many poll workers have dropped out due to health and safety concerns. 

“If you're holding an absentee ballot right now that you haven't sent in, take it to an absentee dropbox or make sure you vote in person to make sure your vote is counted,” he advised.

Do you still need to make a voting plan? Visit Biotech Votes to find your polling location and get information about the candidates and issues in your district.

 
 
 
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How much will you have to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine?

 
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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a plan for coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics. Here’s what you need to know. 

As expected, any vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—including those authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or Biologics License Application (BLA)—will be covered under Medicare/Medicare Advantage with no cost sharing.

Providers will also be prohibited from charging for administration of the vaccine.

The plan also includes provisions for private plans—implementing provisions of the CARES Act requiring coverage of a COVID-19 vaccine by most private health insurance plans without cost sharing from both in and out-of-network providers during the public health emergency. 

With regards to treatments, currently, Medicare hospitals can get extra payments (outlier payments) to cover costs that exceed the bundled payments under the Medicare Severity-Diagnosis Related Group (MS-DRG) system—but outlier payments aren’t common. 

According to the CMS plan, outlier calculations would be relaxed—allowing hospitals to qualify for additional payments when they treat patients with newly approved products. (We think this is a positive step, but we’re still reviewing the details.)

CMS is also proposing that therapies would be paid separately in the hospital outpatient setting—and not bundled with their related services. (Again, we’ll dig into how meaningful this is, since most therapies today are already outside the outpatient bundle.) 

What’s next? The interim final rule is effective immediately until the end of the public health emergency, with a 60-day comment period.  

 
Dr. Michelle on why patient advocacy matters
 

A few more things we learned from the BIO Patient and Health Advocacy Digital Summit…


Catch up on the live blog.
 
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Because the planet’s worth it

 
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This week, BIO member LanzaTech announced a partnership with L’Oréal and Total to create the first cosmetic packaging made from captured and recycled carbon emissions.

How it works: LanzaTech captures industrial carbon emissions and converts them to ethanol. Then, energy producer and supplier Total converts the ethanol to a polyethylene substitute, which L’Oréal turns into shampoo and conditioner bottles.

What they’re saying: “This partnership is based on a shared goal of creating a cleaner planet for everyone,” said LanzaTech CEO Jennifer Holmgren. “Together, we can reduce the carbon footprint of packaging by converting carbon emissions into useful products, making single-use carbon a thing of the past.”

Now, they’ll work to bring the production of these sustainable plastics to commercial scale—a real-life example of the circular economy in action.

This is why we need the Growing Climate Solutions Act. With the establishment of carbon markets, companies like LanzaTech could eventually be incentivized for turning the carbon pollutants into value-added products, while reducing GHG emissions and waste. 

Show your support for the bioeconomy and the climate. Ask your lawmakers to support the Growing Climate Solutions Act.

 
 
 
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Welcome, New Members!
 
 

In October, BIO welcomed 8 new members to the organization:

  1. Evrys Bio
  2. Topadur Pharma AG
  3. Joyn Bio
  4. Passage Bio
  5. Axter Therapeutics Biopharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
  6. Dalan Animal Health, Inc.
  7. Eighty Eight Pharma, Inc.
  8. Aviabiotic
 
 
 
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BIO Beltway Report
BIO Beltway Report
 
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President Trump’s Friday: Zipping through the Midwest with campaign rallies in Waterford Township, MI; Green Bay, WI; and Rochester, MN.

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said a coronavirus aid deal could still be possible before the end of the year, reports POLITICO.

 
 
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