The Federal Trade
Commission is advising people to hang up on telephone calls that threaten a
fine for not having health insurance. The calls direct the recipient to someone
who claims to be enforcing the health insurance law and attempts to glean the
consumer's full name, birth date, Social Security number and income. People who work in the Marketplace don’t make
cold calls, and they never ask for personal information. If you get a call like
this, hang up.
The phone numbers showed up
with a local area code. The recorded message sounded urgent: “You need to buy
health insurance or face a fine. To learn more, press 1.” A person who works in
the Health Insurance Marketplace got the call and knew it was fishy, so she
pressed 1. The operator claimed to ‘work with the law,’ and asked for the
person’s full name, date of birth, phone number, income information and Social
Security number. The person who got the call knew it was nonsense, so she hung
up and contacted the FTC.
If you get a recorded sales
call, but you didn’t give the caller written permission to call you, the call
is illegal. Don’t press 1 to speak to the operator or get your name taken off
the list, and don’t give any personal information. If you respond, you’ll
probably get more calls.
If you want information
about health insurance in your state, visit HealthCare.gov. or contact us here
at Affincon.com. If you get a call like
this, please report it to the FTC.
Martin Shkreli raised the price of anti-parasitic drug Daraprim more than 50-fold to $750
a pill last year, he said he wasn’t alone in taking big price hikes.
As it turns out, the former drug executive was right. A survey
of about 3,000 brand-name prescription drugs found that prices more than
doubled for 60 and at least quadrupled for 20 since December 2014.
Among the biggest increases was Alcortin A, a combination
steroid and antibiotic gel to treat eczema and skin infections: The price
soared 1,860 percent, or almost 20-fold, during the period. And a vial of
Aloprim, a Mylan NV drug for cancer complications, more than
doubled, according to the survey by DRX, a provider of price-comparison
software to health plans.
Skyrocketing prices are getting increased scrutiny ahead of a
U.S. congressional hearing this week: Democratic Representative Elijah
Cummings, ranking member on a committee that is probing drug pricing, said Tuesday that pricing “tactics are not limited
to a few ‘bad apples,’ but are prominent throughout the industry.”
Even after soaring prices became an issue in the U.S.
presidential campaign, the cost of many drugs has continued to rise at
annual rates of more than 10 percent. Drug
makers raised the prices of products as wide-ranging as erectile
dysfunction drug Viagra, heart treatments, dermatology medicine and even brands
that long have lost their patents. While specialty companies have had the
steepest hikes, giants such as Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline Plc
kept pushing through smaller rises.
“The data shows that price increases are an integral part of the
business plan,” said Jim Yocum, executive vice president at DRX.
Pharmaceutical companies often boost prices around the end and
the start of the year, and the scale of recent increases was higher than what
Yocum has seen in the past few years. About 400 formulations of brand-name
drugs went up at least 9.9 percent since early December, according to DRX.
Click here to read article: Bloomberg (02/02/16)