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High prescription drug costs cause a negative health impact

High prescription drug costs cause a negative health impactA 2021 CDC study found that 8.2% of Americans aged 18 to 64 skipped, delayed or reduced the amount of their prescription medications because of cost concerns. The National Health Interview Survey revealed that to reduce expenses, 9.2 million adults were not taking medication as prescribed.

According to the report, about 60% of adults age 18 and older took at least one prescription medication, with 36% taking three or more. Out-of-pocket costs on retail drugs rose 4.8% to $63 billion. Since high costs limit many Americans’ ability to take their medications as prescribed, these patients may require additional treatment.

6 prescription drug cost key takeaways

While this study was conducted in 2021, key takeaways are still applicable today due to rising prescription drug costs. Consider the following findings:

  • Women (9.1%) were likelier than men (7%) not to take medication as prescribed.
  • The percentage of adults not taking medication as prescribed due to cost varied by race and origin: non-Hispanic other or multiple race adults (11.5%), Black adults (10.4%), Hispanic (9.7%), White adults (7.4%) and Asian adults (6.8%).
  • Adults with disabilities (20%) were more likely than adults without disabilities (7.1%) to skip, delay or reduce medications as prescribed due to cost.
  • Uninsured adults (2.9%) were more likely than adults with Medicaid (8%), private health insurance (6.5%) or other health coverage (11.4%), to not take medications as prescribed due to cost.
  • Adults without prescription drug coverage (18.1%) were more likely not to take medication as prescribed to reduce costs compared with adults with public (7.6%) or private (6.6%) prescription drug coverage.

How employers can help

Many Americans are skipping or cutting back on prescribed medications for financial reasons. This behavior is expected to continue as economic pressures strain Americans’ finances. Unfortunately, it can result in serious negative health outcomes.

Drug prices vary, so it can pay to encourage employees to shop around. Other common strategies for reducing prescription drug costs include choosing generic drug or biosimilars versions, comparing prices and using a preferred pharmacy.

Employers can also help by monitoring prescription drug pricing trends, utilization and spending. It’s a huge advantage to offer employees benefits options that help them better manage their health. If you need assistance finding the best solution for your organization, contact HANYS Benefits Services today. Our dedicated team of experts is more than happy to help you find better strategies to save.

The content of this News Brief is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It should not be regarded as legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. © 2023 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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