Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pharmacy Benefit Costs Set to Drive Medical Cost Increases, Study

  • Prior to making plan design changes, pharmacy cost increases are projected to be 9.5% in 2015, 10% in 2016 and 10.5% in 2017. This follows recent years that saw a flat or very low single digit increase. 
  • This is partly due to the fact that the generic drug pipeline is drying up, as less and less brands lose their patents. In 2015, the generic drug cost rate was a positive number — usually it is a negative number.  
  • Fortunately, low medical costs are expected to mitigate some of the higher pharmacy costs. Those cost increases are projected to be 4.5% in 2015 and 5% in 2016, bringing the total projected combined medical and pharmacy cost trend for active and pre-retirement age employees to 5.4% in 2015 and 5.9% in 2016. 
SourceHow employers can battle double-digit Rx cost increases, by Brian Kalish, writing at Employee Benefit News on April 20, 2015.