Cigna Corp. (NYSE:CI) has been working with EMD Serono to test how the Rebif brand of interferon beta-1a affects the cost of health care.
The drug is supposed to prevent MS relapses.
EMD Serono has been using Cigna claims data to see how use of the drug affected the likelihood that users of the drug ended up going to the emergency room or being admitted to a hospital.
The drug can cost thousands of dollars per month, but the cost of a typical MS-related hospital stay is about $10,000.
Early returns look good, Cigna representatives say.
A thought: Cigna sells disability insurance, and it promotes efforts to coordinate health insurance with disability coverage, but the study just looked at acute health care costs, not disability insurance claims.
I think it would be great if, once disability insurers get through these horrible, low-interest-rate, weak-job-market days, they could use the jolt of energy they get from the world looking less bleak to promote the idea that medical outcomes studies of all kinds should use work-related indicators, such as days of absence and the likelihood of workers filing short-term disability (STD) claims, as well as acute health care cost and acute health care quality indicators.