One of the factors contributing to healthcare inflation is the cost of prescription drugs. But employers can help lower the cost of their prescription drug plan by making sure that it allows employees to try some simple cost-cutting measures:
• Use of generics: Employees should be encouraged to ask their physicians to prescribe generic drugs when they are available and appropriate. With generic drugs, employees can get many of the prescriptions they need at the same level of quality, strength and purity as their brand-name counterparts at 30-60 percent less in price than the equivalent brand name product.
• Pill splitting: Under the guidance of a physician, pill-splitting programs can save individuals half of their copays. Pill-splitting programs, first introduced by UnitedHealthcare, allow physicians to prescribe twice the dosage and have the employee split them in half to get their regular dose, allowing the employee to pay one 30-day copay for a 60-day supply.
• Mail-order pharmacy: Ordering a 90-day supply by mail can often cut the copay cost, while saving monthly trips to the pharmacy for maintenance medications.
Even if an employer does not offer a prescription plan benefit, it can still suggest these cost-savings approaches to their employees to help them reduce the cost of their family’s health care.