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Showing posts from August, 2023

Prescription drug coverage to lower costs and improve employee health

Healthcare costs are expected to grow 5.6% for a hypothetical family of four from 2022 to 2023, according to the 2023 Milliman Medical Index . That’s an increase from $29,424 to $31,065. This year-over-year growth is increasing pressure on employers to provide employees with health coverage at an affordable price. One strategy your organization can look into is prescription drug coverage. Over the past month, HANYS Benefits Services has put the spotlight on how changes in coverage could help your company save and boost employee health in the long run. Read our Benefits Toolkit: Prescription Benefits Drugs for a comprehensive synopsis. Then, top it off with our additional prescription drug and alternative therapies resources: Prescription drug pricing trends ; How prescription drug importation can lower drug prices ; What you should know about biolsimilars ; and Managing costs with cell and gene therapy . If you have questions or need assistance, contact us today . Our dedicated team o

How Prescription Drug Importation Can Lower Drug Prices

The cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. is the highest in the developed world and is rising quickly. Americans often pay more for prescription drugs than individuals in comparable countries. According to a 2021 RAND Corporation study , U.S. prescription drug prices were 2.56 times higher, on average, than those in the 32 comparison countries. It’s no surprise many Americans struggle to afford the prescription drugs they need. Addressing the lack of affordable prescription drugs is a top public health priority in the U.S. Prescription drug importation is one option some policymakers are pursuing to lower drug prices for Americans. While prescription drug importation has bipartisan public support, it remains a controversial issue with benefits and risks that must be examined. This article explores the potential impacts of prescription drug importation on U.S. drug prices. What is prescription drug importation? Prescription drug importation is the practice of purchasing prescription dr

Prescription drug pricing trends

There’s an uptick in prescription drug pricing trends. As drug costs continue to increase, it’s important for employers to understand why prescription prices are rising and what cost-cutting solutions are available to manage expenses. Prescription drug cost drivers Although prescription drug spending has historically been a small proportion of national healthcare costs compared to hospital and physician services, it has grown rapidly in recent years. According to CMS, prescription drug spending increased 7.8% to $378.0 billion in 2021, up 3.7% from the previous year. A recent study found that “In 2022, overall pharmaceutical expenditures in the US grew 9.4% compared to 2021, for a total of $633.5 billion. Utilization (a 5.9% increase), price (a 1.7% increase) and new drugs (a 1.8% increase) drove this increase.” These results illustrate increasing prescription drug spending, especially with new, specialty and cancer drugs. Employers will have to watch for a predicted rise of 6% to 8%

What you should know about biosimilars

Rapidly increasing healthcare costs will likely continue to impact employers for the foreseeable future. As a result, many employers are considering strategies to manage these costs, including rising prescription drug costs. The introduction of biosimilar drugs as an alternative to biologics may bring value to healthcare by offering cost savings and increasing employee access to necessary medications. While biosimilars can potentially combat rising prescription drug costs, employers will need to learn more about them before considering how their health plans can accommodate these newer drugs. This article explores biosimilar drugs and ways employers can promote or manage their use. What are biosimilars? The European Medicines Agency defines a biosimilar as “a biological medicine highly similar to another already approved biological medicine.” It is produced from living organisms — humans, animals or microorganisms, meaning they aren’t created from synthesized chemicals. They are also

Managing costs associated with cell and gene therapy

Employers continue to struggle with controlling rising healthcare costs and providing employees with affordable and quality care options. Of particular concern are the high costs associated with specialty drugs, including treatments like cell and gene therapy. The specialty drug industry has grown from a few available drugs in the 1990s to more than 300 specialty drugs today. Specialty drugs are the fastest-growing expense for most employer-sponsored health plans. As these treatments become more widely available, employers will likely be forced to address even higher specialty drug costs. The recent rise of cell and gene therapy may create even more concern for employers. These treatments typically range from $250,000 to $3.5 million per individual. While CGT is currently limited to a handful of orphan drugs and extremely rare conditions, this is expected to change in the next few years. Investment in regenerative medicine has grown 16% in three years, hitting a record high of $23.1 bi

HBS Q2 Market Recap: So far, so good

In spite of investors’ concerns over a possible recession entering 2023, capital markets and the U.S. economy have been resilient in the first and second quarter, with significantly less volatility. The U.S. equity market’s strong performance in the second quarter was propped up by the unexpected growth boom in artificial intelligence technologies. Overall, the S&P 500 gained 8.74% in Q2, resulting in a year-to-date gain of 16.89%. However, the fight against inflation is ongoing. Compared to the strong headline equity market performance and stock gains we’ve had so far this year, fixed-income markets remain uncertain. The Federal Reserve has a long way to go to get back to its target of 2% inflation, causing fixed-income markets to keep a close eye on further rate hikes. The coming months will be of vital importance to better quantify the unique dynamics of this market and determine whether a true “Goldilocks scenario” can be achieved.  Read the  Retirement Market Recap  to learn m

Attraction & Retention Newsletter - Q3 2023

Attraction and Retention: stay up to date on trends, challenges and tips Each quarter, the  Attraction and Retention  newsletter offers statistics about the employment market, suggestions on securing top talent and insight to attract and retain workers. The  third quarter edition  explores: current labor market trends; how to use mentorship to bolster employee retention; and pay transparency. Since retention plummeted in 2022, employers continue to find themselves needing help attracting and retaining talent in this tight labor market. However, not all labor challenges are equal across all industries or positions. For example, finance and insurance industry job openings are increasing while nondurable goods manufacturing show a downward trend. To navigate today’s work environment, it’s more crucial than ever that employers stay up to date on the current employment landscape and the needs and desires of workers. Download your copy  of  Attraction and Retention  today to stay up to date

Benefits Buzz - August 2023

  FDA approves OTC daily oral contraceptive; IRS issues draft forms for ACA reporting FDA approves first over-the-counter daily oral contraceptive On July 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first nonprescription daily oral contraceptive to prevent pregnancy. This drug is expected to become available to consumers without a prescription from stores and online retailers in early 2024. Insurance coverage The Affordable Care Act requires most group health plans and health insurance issuers to provide first-dollar coverage of certain specified preventive services for women, including all FDA-approved contraceptives, as prescribed by a healthcare provider. The ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate does not cover over-the-counter oral contraceptives that are obtained without a prescription. It is possible that the Biden administration or Congress will take action to expand insurance coverage of over-the-counter oral contraceptives. In the meantime, employers should review t