Pharmacy Benefit Managers: A Brake on Rising Prescription Costs or a Cause of Them?

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In 2015, spending on prescription drugs grew 9%, faster than any other category of health care spending, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report cited increased use of new medicines, price increases for existing ones, and more spending on generic drugs as the reasons for this growth. Increasingly, though, observers of the health care system point to one player – the pharmacy benefit manager. PBMs are intermediaries, acting as go-betweens for insurance companies, self-insured employers, drug manufacturers and pharmacies. They can handle prescription claims administration for insurers and employers, facilitate mail-order drug delivery, market drugs…
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Vehicle Crashes on and off the Job Cost Employers Dearly

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The costs for businesses when their employees are involved in car accidents on and off the job are staggering, at $47.4 billion a year, according to a new study. The “Cost of Vehicle Crashes to Employers – 2015” study, by the Network for Employers for Traffic Safety, looked at how much car crashes cost businesses in terms of workplace disruption and liability costs. While the costs to companies when their workers are in on-the-job automobile accidents are easily measured, the costs to businesses when their employees miss work after accidents while off the job are almost as steep. Employers end…
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Telemedicine Can Reduce Premium Costs, Save Time

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MORE AND more health plans and employers are embracing telemedicine as part of their health insurance offerings, in order to help enrollees who may live far from their doctor – and to save money. A 2014 study by the consulting firm Deloitte calculated that there would be 75 million virtual doctor visits in Northern America that year, and another survey by Towers Watson in the same year found that 37% of employers planned to offer their workers telemedicine consultations in 2015 – with another 34% planning to do so by 2017. More private insurers are paying for telehealth services, a…
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Watch Out for the Newest Cyber Threat: Ransomware

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The cyber-security stakes have gotten higher for enterprises with the recent news that a hospital in Los Angeles had to fork out $17,000 to pay cyber criminals after they crippled its network. The ransomware that infected Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and the ransom they had to pay the hackers to unlock their system reflect the newest danger facing any organization that has a computer network. The hospital’s case is not an isolated one, and experts are warning that cyber criminals have increasingly switched their targets from big companies to small and mid-sized businesses as their networks are easier to infiltrate,…
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Drug Testing in Workers’ Comp Skyrockets

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Drug testing of injured workers by treating doctors has skyrocketed over the past seven years as painkiller abuse continues and physicians want to monitor their patients for staying with their prescribed drug regimen. The use of urine drug testing on injured workers in California increased 2,431% between 2007 and 2014, according to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI). During that period, urine drug tests grew from 10% to 59% of all California workers’ compensation laboratory services, while drug testing reimbursements increased from 23% to 77% of all lab payments in the system. The rapid increase reflects the growing concern among…
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Specialty Drugs Raising Concerns for Employers, Employees

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While rapidly rising drug costs are starting to raise concern among employers, one major driver of health care costs is drug spending that’s not even part of the pharmacy benefits you offer your staff. Most health plans never anticipated including in their drug benefits packages specialty drugs – a new class of pharmaceuticals that are tailored to individuals based on their genetic makeup or other factors. The problem is that they typically have high price tags that can exceed $100,000 a year, and the costs are often difficult to detect since the cost is often listed as a medical billing,…
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Reporting Claims Later Can Double the Cost, Report Finds

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A new report has found that when employers are late in reporting workers’ comp claims to their insurers, the cost of the claim often jumps by 50%. The report by the National Council on Compensation Insurance found that claims for workplace injuries that were reported four weeks after the incident, ended up costing $19,936 on average, compared to $13,210 for claims reported one to two weeks after the injury. That’s a jump of 51%. Interestingly, claims that were reported between one day and a week after the injury cost $13,844 on average. Claims filed three to four weeks after an…
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Good Housekeeping Yields a Safe Workplace

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The manufacturing environment is often a busy and hectic one with high potential for injuries or accidents to occur. Good housekeeping habits can help reduce these hazards. Housekeeping is also an essential part of any effective safety program and a safe workplace can reduce the risk of injuries, which not only put employees in danger but also can affect your workers’ comp premiums as well as force you to incur other costs. Depending on the type and scope of work, it is important that you have staff to perform housekeeping duties such as picking up trash and cleaning work areas…
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