Tag Archives: payments

Furlough alert: Workers face ‘financial nightmare’ as HMRC ‘clawback’ payments – act now

FURLOUGH payments will soon dry up as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to a close. As the scheme comes to an end from September 30, it has been hailed as a “qualified success” but affected workers could still be hit by unexpected demands from the Government. As 2022 approaches, HMRC may “clawback” money from those who have overclaimed and ahead of this, Britons have been urged to get their budgetary affairs in order.

Read more here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

State pension UK: Payments will arrive early next week for certain pensioners – check now

State pension, Universal Credit and other benefits can have their payment dates change should they fall on a bank holiday. Where this occurs, recipients will usually be paid on the first working day beforehand.

Claims for state pensions can be made online through the Government’s website.

Additionally, claims can also be made over the phone or through the post.

To be eligible for a state pension, people will need to have at least 10 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions under their belt.

To receive the full new state pension amount of £179.60 per week, at least 35 years will be needed – although there are certain reasons which could mean the amount is smaller or greater.

Once a person reaches their state pension age, there is no obligation to actually claim the payments and if they do not, the payments will be automatically deferred.

State pension payments will increase for every week they are deferred, and for the new state pension, this is so long as they are deferred for at least nine weeks.

The payments will increase by the equivalent of one percent for every nine weeks of deferment.

This works out at just under 5.8 percent for every 52 weeks, for the new state pension.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Rheumatologists’ Industry Payments Rise; Small Minority Gets Most

Practicing rheumatologists in the United States received more than $ 220 million from pharmaceutical companies during 2014-2019, with payments increasing each year, according to findings from a descriptive study of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Open Payments Database.

Rheumatologists have identified conflicts of interest as an ethical concern, but the details of industry payments to rheumatologists have not been investigated, wrote Michael Putman, MD, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues in Arthritis & Rheumatology. “Payments among rheumatologists may be of particular interest,” given their frequent prescription of expensive and primarily on-patent biologic and targeted disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), the researchers said.

Over the 2014-2019 study period, 5,723 rheumatologists received a total of $ 221,254,966 from 1,610,668 payments. Of these, 3,416 (59%) received less than $ 5,000; 368 (6%) received more than $ 100,000, accounting for 78% of the total payments. The yearly value of the payments increased from $ 29,755,133 in 2014 to $ 46,308,926 in 2019, a 56% increase.

The payments to individual rheumatologists during the study period ranged from $ 8 to $ 5,612,254, with a median individual payment of $ 2,818. However, most (81%) of the payments were less than $ 25, and only 4% were more than $ 1,000.

Physicians who received more than $ 100,000 were significantly more likely to be paid speakers’ fees, consulting fees, and travel and lodging fees, but significantly less likely to receive payments for food and beverage than were those who received less than $ 100,000.

Overall, women made up 43% of the study population and received 34% of the total payments.

However, the median payment to male rheumatologists was significantly higher than the median payment to female rheumatologists ($ 3,732 vs. $ 2,084). Female rheumatologists were significantly more likely to receive payments for food and beverage and significantly less likely to receive speakers’ fees or travel and lodging coverage.

When the data were analyzed by state, California had the highest amount of total payments ($ 27,769,124), followed by New York and Texas, while Arizona had the highest spending per rheumatologist ($ 143,559). By region, based on U.S. Census divisions, the highest spending occurred in the Middle Atlantic Division ($ 46,327,351) and the highest per rheumatologist spending occurred in the East-South Central Division ($ 49,605).

“These data suggest industry payments in rheumatology have followed two distinct patterns, which have been observed in other medical subspecialties,” specifically, that many small payments are made to a large number of physicians, and large-value payments are made to a small number of physicians, the researchers noted.

The impact of small payments cannot be discounted, they said, “as even small gifts may affect behavior and are associated with prescribing patterns.” The impact of large payments on behavior and practice deserve further investigation, “but it is notable that a recent evaluation of rheumatology clinical practice guidelines identified substantial involvement from rheumatologists who had accepted large values of industry payments,” the researchers added.

Approximately half the total value of payments came from three companies: Bristol-Myers Squibb (20%), Abbvie (17%), and Pfizer (12%). Medications associated with the highest spending included Otezla, Humira, and Xeljanz.

Of note, the data showed that H.P. Acthar gel was among the top 10 agents for total payments, and “over 90% of rheumatologists who frequently prescribe H.P. Acthar gel have also received H.P. Acthar–related payments, raising the possibility that such payments have influenced prescribing behavior,” given the lack of high-quality evidence to support its use and the availability of less expensive alternatives, the researchers said.

The study findings were limited by several factors, including the focus only on general payments to rheumatologists, and the lack of external sources to verify payments, the researchers noted. “Most importantly, this was a descriptive study, and the degree to which payments have influenced physician behavior lies outside the scope of this work. Future studies should investigate the degree to which industry payments have influenced prescribing in the field of rheumatology.”

Focus on Collaborations That Add Value

The study is important because previous data on the magnitude of payments or payment patterns from pharmaceutical companies to practicing rheumatologists were limited, lead author Putman said in an interview.

“I was most surprised by some of the medications that received high values of payments,” he said. “Many payments were linked to medications that we use commonly and that have high-quality data supporting their use. That was not surprising, and you could imagine dollars spent on [interleukin]-23 or IL-17 inhibitors being used in a way that is valuable to other physicians or to patients with rheumatic diseases. On the other hand, some medications – most notably H.P. Acthar gel – have no high-quality data supporting their use, are used by a very small cadre of physicians, and are extraordinarily expensive. At least in my opinion, there is no world where payments linked to H.P. Acthar gel provide any benefit for physicians or patients.”

Putman said he expected that the patterns and the increases observed in the study are likely to continue.

“Ultimately, I have a somewhat nuanced view of financial conflicts of interest,” he said. “Collaborations between the pharmaceutical industry and rheumatologists have provided extraordinary value to our field. I think rheumatologists should be much more involved in some areas. At the same time, I think we should be much less involved in marketing drugs that provide little value to patients and great cost to society. H.P. Acthar Gel is the classic example of this, but there are others as well. I think future research should focus on how these payments influence behavior and should seek to identify areas where they result in low-value care.” Going forward, valuable collaborations between rheumatologists and the pharmaceutical industry should be encouraged, but collaborations without value should be discouraged, he said.

Industry Payments Serve No Useful Purpose

The findings “highlight the overarching concern regarding the ability of industry payments to adversely affect care quality within the specific context of rheumatology practice,” Aaron P. Mitchell, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, wrote in an accompanying editorial.

Dr Aaron Mitchell

Mitchell emphasized several points, starting with the temporal trend showing an increase in industry payments beyond the rate of inflation that has not been universal across specialties. He also emphasized the “highly skewed distribution of payments,” with a large majority going to a relatively small number of rheumatologists. “This suggests an industry strategy of targeting ‘key opinion leaders,’ or KOLs, with higher payments,” and which was not surprising, as similar patterns have been seen in other specialties. Mitchell noted that 10 drugs accounted for more than half of the payments, and that “the unifying feature of these drugs is their high cost.”

“The picture of industry strategy that emerges from Putman et al. and other similar reports is that of intense, sustained KOL-focused marketing soon after the release of a new high-margin drug,” he wrote.

Despite the descriptive nature of the study, the findings have clinical implications based on other studies of the consequences of industry payments with respect to care quality, Mitchell said. “Hypothetically, industry spending to promote drugs to physicians could increase dissemination of new, superior drugs, improving patient outcomes.” However, physicians tend to opt for game-changing drugs without added incentive; “it is the less-innovative drugs that industry has to push harder.”

The practice of industry payments for physicians becomes even more difficult to rationalize given the potential for increased out-of-pocket costs and potentially avoidable toxicities for patients, Mitchell said. “Moreover, industry payments serve no unmet need; through our professional societies and other nonprofit sources, we physicians are fully capable of staying up-to-date on new treatments without relying on industry meals and sponsored events.”

Disclosure of Payments Is Important

The study is important because it is essential to understand how public disclosure of industry payments influences financial relationship between the biomedical industry and physicians, said Amarnath Annapureddy, MD, a clinical fellow in cardiology at Yale University, New Haven, Conn., who has studied and written about industry payments to physicians.

Annapureddy said in an interview that he was surprised by how the study findings were opposite to the assumption that public disclosure would dissuade continuation of financial ties between physicians and industry. “This study showed payments increased over time rather than decreasing due to public disclosure.”

However, Annapureddy said that he was not surprised at how few physicians received the bulk of industry payments. “These physicians are considered to be ‘key opinion leaders’ who could influence practicing patterns of other physicians. These findings are similar to payment patterns for other specialties, including cardiology.

“So far, no study has evaluated factors that drive changes in industry payment patterns,” Annapureddy said. “I anticipate the patterns noted in this study will continue at least in the short term. If health care systems mandate physicians to disclose potential conflicts of interest to the patients, it may reduce payments.”

However, “unless, there is a major health policy mandate by government, I anticipate public disclosure of payments through the open payments program will not impact industry-physician ties,” he said. “This study has not evaluated impact of payments on prescribing practices. There are overwhelming data from several studies that showed payments influence physicians practicing patterns, whether it is prescribing a medication or implanting a device.” However, as for additional research, Annapureddy said that it would interesting to see a randomized trial to show whether the way physicians disclose their financial ties with patients would impact their practicing patterns.

The study received no outside funding. Putman was supported by a Rheumatology Research grant, but he and the other researchers had no financial conflicts to disclose. Mitchell disclosed a merit award from the nonprofit Conquer Cancer Foundation, for which the Foundation received financial support from Merck. Annapureddy had no financial conflicts to disclose.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com , part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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This post originally posted here Medscape Medical News

TV Licence: Britons face new payments as ‘transition period’ finishes next month

The TV licence fee must be met by anyone who wishes to watch live television in the home, regardless of whether this is on the BBC or not. A standard TV Licence currently costs £159, and Britons can pay in a number of ways including via Direct Debit. Previously, the TV Licence was free for all over 75s, however, following a change in August 2020, this entitlement was removed.

Britons should therefore be looking out for a letter which will tell them more about the TV Licence arrangement.

The BBC says it will confirm the extended transition period put into place due to the pandemic is finishing at the end of the month.

The letter is to also contain details of the steps Britons will need to take to set up a TV Licence.

Details about Pension Credit will also be included, alongside guidance on whether someone is eligible for a free licence. 

It stated: “These were promised at the beginning of this process but can now take place, subject to any further COVID-19 restrictions, and will begin in the autumn.”

However, some have seen this as a method of enforcement, and have hit back against the idea.

Dennis Reed, director of the Silver Voices campaign group, said: “Clearly, the BBC is not going to do anything other than enforce the licence fee. 

“It is now time for the Government to act. I’m sure they don’t want to see senior citizens in their 80s and 90s, who have paid tax throughout their lives, fined up to £1,000 and carted off to jail.”

In July, the BBC says it will also be contacting licence holders regarding the annual renewal process.

Those who have joined the 75+ Plan or who are paying via direct debit, and those who have a free licence are to be sent their new licence automatically. 

Author: Rebekah Evans
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Finance Feed

In N.C.A.A. Case, Supreme Court Backs Payments to Student-Athletes

In April, Mark Emmert, the N.C.A.A. president, said he was looking for “clarity about what the law is, clarity about who has responsibility for what, clarity about how these issues will be decided, whether through congressional processes, through legal processes or through N.C.A.A. decision-making processes.”

In Monday’s decision, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, writing for the court, took a measured approach, saying his task was merely to assess a limited injunction entered by a trial judge, one that allowed payments for things like musical instruments, scientific equipment, postgraduate scholarships, tutoring, study abroad, academic awards and internships. It did not permit the outright payment of salaries.

“Some will think the district court did not go far enough,” Justice Gorsuch wrote. “By permitting colleges and universities to offer enhanced education-related benefits, its decision may encourage scholastic achievement and allow student-athletes a measure of compensation more consistent with the value they bring to their schools. Still, some will see this as a poor substitute for fuller relief.”

“At the same time, others will think the district court went too far by undervaluing the social benefits associated with amateur athletics,” he added.

Justice Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion was bolder.

“The N.C.A.A. couches its arguments for not paying student athletes in innocuous labels,” he wrote. “But the labels cannot disguise the reality: The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.”

“All of the restaurants in a region cannot come together to cut cooks’ wages on the theory that ‘customers prefer’ to eat food from low-paid cooks,” he wrote. “Law firms cannot conspire to cabin lawyers’ salaries in the name of providing legal services out of a ‘love of the law.’”

“Price-fixing labor is price-fixing labor,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. “And price-fixing labor is ordinarily a textbook antitrust problem because it extinguishes the free market in which individuals can otherwise obtain fair compensation for their work.”

Author: Adam Liptak and Alan Blinder
This post originally appeared on NYT > Top Stories

Cryptocurrency payments coming to some Texas H-E-B stores

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dogecoin, the meme-originated favorite of Elon Musk, will soon be options for payment at some H-E-B grocery stores in Texas.

The Houston Chronicle reports currency provider Coin Cloud will soon begin placing kiosks in several stores where customers will both be able to make purchases using the digital currency, but will also be able to purchase more coins.

An H-E-B representative told Houston Chronicle the pilot program will start in 29 Houston-area stores. The machines will also be Coin Cloud’s 2,00th machine.

Worldwide, more and more businesses are starting to embrace cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which is the most popular. Currently, 1 Bitcoin equals about $ 36,120.20 in U.S. dollars. Second most popular is Ethereum: 1 Ether currently equals $ 2,225.98 U.S. dollars.

Despite their surging popularity, many investors and experts still lack faith in them as long-term investments, citing volatility and uncertainty around value retention.

Author: Russell Falcon
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

State pension UK: How to check if you were contracted out of NI payments – full details

To be eligible for state pension payments a person must reach a specific state pension age.

For most people, this will currently be 66.

However, the state pension age will be rising over the coming years, hitting 67 between 2026 and 2028.

Beyond this, the state pension age will reach 68 by 2046.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

PIP claimants may get additional payments worth £4,610 per year – eligibility explained

PIP can help people with some of the extra costs associated with long term physical or mental health conditions or disabilities. To be eligible for PIP, a claimants will need to be aged between 16 and state pension age.

On top of these payments however, claimants may be able to qualify for other financial help.

This can include carer’s allowance or help with housing or transport costs.

For those who get PIP and work, it may be possible to get the disability element of working tax credit.

This could award claimants with an additional £3,220 a year of up to £4,610 if their disability is severe.

Before making a PIP claim, people will need to have the following details ready:

  • Their contact details, for example telephone number
  • Their date of birth
  • Their National Insurance number
  • Their bank or building society account number and sort code
  • Their doctor or health worker’s name, address and telephone number
  • Dates and addresses for any time they’ve spent in a care home or hospital
  • Dates for any time they’ve spent abroad for more than four weeks at a time, and the countries they visited

Following an initial claim, claimants will go through an assessment process and so long as they’re eligible, they’ll then be paid once every four weeks.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

Carer's Allowance applicants given tip on how they can 'receive payments sooner'

Carer’s Allowance is a payment a person may be able to get if they provide 35 hours per week of care for someone who gets certain benefits. The full list of benefits can be found under the eligibility section on the Government website, and it includes Attendance Allowance or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

There are also eligibility rules surrounding the carer themselves, which are also available to read on the Government website.

A person doesn’t need to be related to or living with the person they care for in order to qualify, however.

Should an individual care for more than one person though, they won’t get paid extra.

Furthermore, if another person also cares for the same person, it’s important to note only one of the carers could be able to claim Carer’s Allowance.

READ MORE: PIP update as thousands of claimants could be set for back payment

Another consideration to be aware of is that Carer’s Allowance can affect the other benefits both the caregiver and the recipient of the care get.

Carer’s Allowance is taxable, so if a person’s income is over the Personal Allowance, they will have to pay tax on it.

The money is paid either weekly in advance or every four weeks, and it’s down to the claimant as to which one they choose.

It will be paid into an account, such as a bank account.

DON’T MISS

In addition to the money, it may be there are other forms of support available.

For each week a person gets Carer’s Allowance, they will automatically get National Insurance credits, which can count towards the state pension.

Furthermore, a person may be able to apply for other forms of financial support, such as grants and buries and a Council Tax Reduction.

There are two ways to apply for Carer’s Allowance: online and post.

It is possible to backdate a claim by up to three months.

How much is Carer’s Allowance?

The rate is currently £67.60 per week.

This works out at £270.40 per four weeks.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed

State pension, PIP & other benefit payments will come through early tomorrow – get ready

To be eligible for a state pension, a person will need at least 10 years of qualifying National Insurance contributions.

At least 35 years will be needed for the full amount of £179.60 per week.

Initial payments should come through within five weeks of reaching state pension age, so long as a claim is made.

Additionally, claimants can defer their claims if they’re not ready to retire and this could boost payments if it’s done for long enough.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Finance Feed