Health news we didn’t see coming

If you think it’s easy to cut health care costs, you may get a different idea in this USA Today article by Alison Young. Her report describes how Ford Motor Co. saved money by using an outpatient physical therapy firm for employees, but the effort was seen as a threat by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and some Michigan hospitals.

And if you think $4 generic drug plans are a terrific idea (not an unusual opinion), you may be surprised at the side effects of such programs. A perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine notes that the cheap generic prices increase patients’ access to drugs. But because these retail programs often fail to generate pharmacy claims, they can undermine efforts at improving the quality of care, the authors say.

Health benefits plans are always changing – sometimes in big ways. Some employers are varying the premiums for health insurance based on the salaries of their workers, charging higher premiums to their highest-paid employees, as the New York Times reports.