Recently Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb gave a speech blowing the whistle on rigged payment schemes in the pharmaceutical industry.
According to the commissioner, current relationships between drug plans, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies are blocking access to cheaper versions of the costliest drugs in the U.S.
While it’s true that the pharmaceutical and healthcare supply chains are keeping our most costly drug costs high, there are small steps you and your employees can make to lower healthcare costs, thus enhancing your employee benefits offering.
Educate your team on cost-saving strategies
Teach your employees the value of buying generic and explain how doing so can save them money. According to the FDA, generic medications save $3 billion every week and more than $150 billion annually. To save time, work with your broker to put your education campaign together in advance.
- Every January, encourage employees to check for updates on the FDA’s List of Authorized Generic Drugs, and send out information on the benefits of buying generic.
- In March, ask employees to call around to a few pharmacies to see if there are better prices for their regular prescriptions. Many of your team members may now know that drug prices can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy — even for generic drugs.
- In June, send your team information on the value of preventative services and encourage them to visit their primary care physician annually.
- And in September, send out links to the resources your carrier provides. Many will offer prescription drug discounts or provide rebates for gym memberships and more. Showcasing incentives provided by your healthcare carrier will motivate your employees to dig for more resources and drive engagement with value-added employee benefits provided to them for no cost.
Ask about cost-saving programs
As an employee benefits administration company, we advise our clients to look into carrier programs that can help your employees save money. Consult with your healthcare broker for more information on programs that are available to you. Here are a few examples:
- Anthem offers a half-tablet program. This program cuts the number of pills an individual receives in half by doubling the strength of each pill and requiring the consumer to split the pill in half before taking the medication. Participants who utilize this program pay half of their usual prescription copayment or a smaller percentage of coinsurance because they receive half the tablets.
- UnitedHealthcare offers a refill and save program that offers discounts to individuals who fill their prescriptions in a certain time frame. UHC offers this program in hopes that individuals with chronic diseases will be incentivized to better manage their conditions. The carrier says this can save participants up to $250 per year.
There are other resources for employees to find cost-savings on medical care and prescriptions, but the only way to encourage your employees to use them is to educate them. Have more questions? Contact the employee benefits experts, Cornerstone Insurance Group, today.
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