Magazine article HRMagazine

Get Ready for Drug Price Hikes

Magazine article HRMagazine

Get Ready for Drug Price Hikes

Article excerpt

The cost of prescription drugs in group health plans continues to soar at doubledigit rates, leading employers to take costcontainment steps.

For active employees and retirees under age 65, these expenses are projected to increase 11.6 percent in 2017, up from 11.3 percent in 2016, according to the results of HR consultancy Segal's 2017 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey.

The expected surge in specialty drug/ biotech medication costs in 2017 is exceptionally high at 18.7 percent. Although these drugs account for less than 1 percent of all medications, they are responsible for 35 percent of the total increase in anticipated prescription expenses for 2017, according to survey respondents.

In an effort to ensure that these treatments are used appropriately and to target unnecessary costs, plan sponsors are implementing strategies to manage patients who use specialty drugs, including:

Use-management controls, such as requiring prior authorization before a prescription can be filled. …

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