How to Help Employees Spend Less on Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug costs are a major concern for many employees. According to a 2017 study, 10% of healthcare spending, nationwide, went toward prescription drugs. Even more surprising, 21% of employer health insurance costs were related to prescription drug coverage. While hospital care remains the biggest cost for Americans, prescription drugs are the second greatest healthcare expense. Any way you look at it, most employees are seeking ways to reduce their prescription drug costs. Let’s take a look at how you, as an employer, can help.

Communication is Key

The first step in helping your employees reduce their prescription drug costs is to revisit your benefits communication plan. Health benefit terms can be notoriously difficult to understand, and many employees can find the language confusing. Act as an advocate for your employees, helping them understand exactly what their plan options are and how they can save money.

Many employers hold meetings or Q&A forums around enrollment time, but it’s helpful to communicate with your employees about their benefits all throughout the year. Remind them of cost-saving measures they can take as part of their plan, and be clear about who they can talk to when they have questions about how their benefits apply to new health situations that arise.

Utilize Preventative Benefits

Many healthcare plans include preventative and wellness benefits, but employees aren’t always aware of them. When you’re looking at your communication plan, consider sending reminders about these types of benefits. Preventative benefits like free screenings, tests, and certain doctor visits can go a long way in not just reducing healthcare costs, but in keeping your workforce happy and healthy.

The same goes for wellness benefits and programs. Look into incentivized programs to educate employees about common conditions like diabetes or to help them fight chronic health problems like smoking. Often, if you don’t tell your employees about these programs, they won’t realize they are part of their benefits package.

Understand the Role of PBMs and Drug Costs

Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs, play a crucial role in drugs costs. They are the gateway between drug manufacturers, pharmacies, and employers. At each turn, they have the power to negotiate costs. The tricky thing to understand is that because they hold so much influence, it’s necessary to look at where the interest lies for each PBM.

Carve-in PBMs, or those that are bundled with health insurance plans answer to health insurance companies. Other PBMs answer to Wall Street and can fight to raise the price of drugs to benefit shareholders. While other independent PBMs place their highest value in helping employers and their employees save money.

Be Choosy About Your PBM

It’s important to realize the power of a PBM and choose a company that’s going to be on your side. Your PBM can take proactive measures to mitigate drug costs through trend management. They can also offer mail order, specialty drug cost reduction, formulary management, and customizable plans.

The best way to help employees save money on drug costs is to work with a PBM that you can trust. Choosing an employee-owned PBM ensures that your interests are always at the forefront of every conversation. At ProAct, Inc., we consider you a partner, and we work hard to make sure your specific needs are met. So, if you want to experience what it’s like to partner with a 100% employee-owned PBM, reach out to us at 888.254.3552 or online.