Midsize Plans Struggle to Pay for Cell, Gene Therapies, Execs Say

It’s no secret that health plans are concerned that they may not be able to afford gene and cell therapies with new or anticipated approvals. With expensive launches on the horizon, plans are searching for payment models that can grant patients access to lifesaving or life-changing therapies without blowing budgets.

Those concerns are particularly acute for smaller, regional health insurers and employer plan sponsors. Those payers may have tight balance sheets and lack the pricing advantages that national insurers can leverage in negotiations with manufacturers. Midsize plan executives say their organizations are figuring out what to do as they go along.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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