Help Your Employees Save Money on Pharmaceuticals

| posted in Blog, Newsletter

Most employers are doing all they can to keep their employees’ health insurance and health care outlays to a minimum. And while most of those efforts are focused on the upfront cost of insurance, copays and deductibles, some employers are taking it a step further to help their employees control the very costs they actually have the most control over – and one of those areas is medicine. Helping your workers become wise consumers of health services can also cut your overall insurance costs, as well as help your employees conserve more of their own funds if they have high…
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With Health Insurance Laws in Flux, Flexible Spending Accounts Can Save Your Workers Money

| posted in Blog

The Internal Revenue Service is reminding eligible employees that now is the time to begin planning to take full advantage of their employer’s health flexible spending arrangement for next year. If you don’t offer a flexible spending account (FSA) for your employees, you should consider starting one as they allow them to use tax-free dollars to pay medical expenses not covered by their health plan, including deductibles, copays and any pharmaceuticals. Now that the year is winding down, even if your employees were using an FSA this year, they must decide again how much they want to set aside pre-tax…
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Workers’ Comp Medical Costs Fall in Wake of Reforms

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The workers’ comp reforms in 2013 have generated surprising cost savings in treating injured workers in California, with overall medical costs per claim falling 8% over a three-year period. That’s in contrast to the years of inflation before the reforms, when the average medical costs per claim were increasing by an average of 6.5% a year. The new study by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California dissected claims costs between July 2012 and June 2015, finding the medical cost savings were greater than originally anticipated. SB 863 increased benefits effective January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014 and…
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New Legislation Aims to Cut Workers’ Comp Drug Costs

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Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign recently passed legislation that could further reduce workers’ comp claims costs in California. The Legislature in September passed AB 1124, which would establish a new drug formulary that would limit the types of medications that can be used to treat injured workers. The law is seen as vital to controlling costs as the cost of some medications – particularly off-label, compound medications and specialty drugs – continues to rise at a quickening pace. Also, because California’s workers’ comp system lacks a drug formulary, payers have often complained of price-gouging for certain pharmaceuticals, like…
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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

| posted in Blog

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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