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Rising pharmacy rates fuel spike in healthcare spending

Posted by Julio Iturriaga

Businesses will spend six percent more on healthcare benefits in 2017 than they did this year, according to an annual survey by the National Business Group on Health. To the casual observer, this might appear to be good news, since the upcoming price hike is no greater than last year's. However, despite this relatively steady growth rate, healthcare costs continue to climb faster than wages on average, suggesting consumers will be forced to put even more of their paychecks toward medicine. 

Let us s​how you how you can save 15-30% on your company's total medical  costs. 

"While employers have been able to keep increases in checkfor the past few years, costs are still running at more than twice the rate of inflation and general wage increases, thereby threatening affordability," said Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of NBGH in a press release. "These cost increases, while stable, are both unsustainable and unacceptable."

Nearly one-third of the 133 surveyed employers indicated that specialty pharmacy costs were the number one driver behind this spike in spending - up from just 6 percent in 2014. Rounding out the list of the three biggest culprits were high cost claimants and specific diseases and conditions. 

Combating rising pharmacy rates According to a similar study by Willis Towers Watson, nearly nine in 10 employers cited controlling pharmacy spending as their top priority over the coming years. Here's how they plan to achieve that goal by 2018: 

  • 85 percent of companies will consider programs to ensure high-cost drugs are used appropriately.
  • 82 percent will consider addressing specialty pharmacy spending that occurs through their medical benefit plan.
  • 43 percent may differentiate their benefit coverage to steer employees toward certain care locations. 

The Willis Towers Watson study predicted a slightly more modest five percent jump in healthcare spending by 2017. 

Posted by Julio Iturriaga

Julio Iturriaga is the manager of Sales and Business Development for Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

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Topics: healthcare costs, Pharmacy, Healthcare

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