Drug benefit chips away at costs

October 15, 2009

Nearly two-thirds of plan sponsors say the economy is causing a shift toward placing greater accountability on members to manage their own health so plan dollars are spent more wisely

Plan sponsors are rethinking the pharmacy benefit in light of the financial crisis, according to Medco Health Solutions Inc.

According to the 9 Leading Trends in Rx Plan Management, a report based on a nationwide survey of plan sponsors conducted for Medco’s Systemed Group by Haldy McIntosh and Associates, nearly two-thirds of plan sponsors say the economy is causing a shift toward placing greater accountability on members to manage their own health so plan dollars are spent more wisely.

“Across a number of questions, this year’s report indicates a substantial willingness to seek more innovative solutions in order to achieve these goals-from shifting member cost share to embracing innovation and technology,” says Nancy Wybolt, senior manager, marketing, Medco.

The findings in the 9 Trends report reflect the perceptions of 300 pharmacy benefit managers from leading corporations, as well as nonprofit, labor and public sector groups with between 500 and 50,000+ employees.

According to Wybolt, the biggest surprise was in the similarity of responses among a variety payer audiences-employers between 500 and 50,000+, private and public sectors, as well as labor unions-are focused on similar issues and management tools.

“A few examples are genetic testing as a routine part of healthcare, mail-order pharmacy as a means identify gaps in care and drive better adherence to essential drug therapies and the need for an FDA approved bio-similar pathway,” Wybolt says. “This alignment highlights everyone’s desire to provide quality care, but remove waste and cost from the system.”

Wybolt says 80% of organizations surveyed intend to integrate their drug and medical data to help improve health and financial outcomes.