Consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), designed to encourage employees to make more cost- and health-conscious decisions, have been shown to reduce the long-term use of outpatient physician visits and prescription drugs, according to new research by the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). Although that may save the consumer and the health plan sponsor money in the short-run, skipping preventative services can lead to more expensive treatments, including high-cost emergency room services, for many conditions.
A majority of U.S. employers (71%) spent 16% or more of their total health care budget on pharmacy benefits, according to a nationwide survey by Buck Consultants.
More than 250 organizations participated in the firm’s latest Prescription Drug Benefit Survey, representing a broad range of industries and more than 3.9 million covered individuals. The survey was fielded in the first quarter of 2013.