No surprise; employers are looking to cut healthcare costs. That's the finding of CVS Caremark's annual survey of employers' priorities for pharmacy benefit management services in 2010.
According to the research, 94 percent of employers are looking for opportunities to save even more on employee healthcare programs while, perhaps unrealistically, seeking to "improve the overall member experience."
"The economic environment continues to impact companies this year, with 66 percent telling us that reducing overall health care costs is their number one success measure," said Jack Bruner, executive vice president, strategic development, Caremark Pharmacy Services. "Employers tell us they are looking for more aggressive solutions to increase generic utilization and manage specialty pharmacy costs, while also focusing on programs to increase medication adherence and manage chronic diseases."
In terms of managing costs, 48 percent of employers are considering plans that require generic medication equivalents to be used in place of branded drugs. Fifty-six percent are considering waiving a co-payment for members who use generics instead of brand medications.
Employers are also seeking to increase medication adherence to avoid the added costs that often occur when people do not take drugs prescribed to deal with chronic illnesses.
Discussion Questions: Is it within the power of businesses to cut their healthcare costs without cutting benefits to employees? How successful have pharmacy benefit management services been in actual cost reduction for businesses?
Do you expect pharmacy benefit management services will be successful in cutting costs for businesses this year?