United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

See Which Employers Are Aggressively Increasing Rx Tiers for Cost Savings

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jul 21, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The Latest UBA Survey data shows employers are flocking to two strategies to control rising prescription drug costs: moving to blended copay/coinsurance models vs. copay only, and adding tiers to the prescription drug plans. Almost half (48.9%) of prescription drug plans utilize three tiers (generic, formulary brand, and non-formulary brand), 4.3% retain a two-tier plan, and 44.1% offer four tiers or more. The number of employers offering drug plans with four tiers or more increased 34% from 2014 to 2015. The fourth tier (and additional tiers) pays for biotech drugs, which are the most expensive. By segmenting these drugs into another category with significantly higher copays, employers are able to pass along a little more of the cost of these drugs to employees. Over the last two years, the number of plans with four or more tiers grew 58.1%, making this a rapidly growing strategy to control costs.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, prescription drug plans, prescription drug cost, benefits cost control, Rx

Industry Trends Emerge in Mail Order Drug Benefits

Posted by: Mary Drueke-Collins, FSA    Jul 8, 2016 11:19:18 AM

Mail order has always been a convenient way for individuals to keep their maintenance drug prescriptions filled. Employers often wonder, are there other advantages to using mail order other than convenience? As an employer, should we be incentivizing mail order? The answers to some of these questions can be found in results from the latest UBA Health Plan Survey.

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Topics: UBA Health Plan Survey, prescription drug plans, prescription drug cost, mail order drug benefits, Mary Drueke-Collins

Employers Split on Whether to Self-Fund Prescription Drug Plans

Posted by: Bill Olson    Jun 30, 2016 10:30:00 AM

On average, 11.9% of prescription plans are self-funded, with the vast majority (88.1%) of employers choosing to fully insure their prescription plans, according to UBA’s new Special Report: Trends in Prescription Drug Benefits, based on data from the latest UBA Health Plan Survey of more than 10,000 employer-sponsored health plans. Although self-funding has increased 9% from the past survey year, the move to self-funding is slow but positive among small groups (10 to 199 employees), while large groups are actually moving away from this model.

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Topics: self-funding, UBA Health Plan Survey, prescription drug plans, prescription drug cost, Scott Deru

New Drugs for Some ... Will They Ultimately Cost Everyone an Arm and a Leg?

Posted by: Elizabeth Kay    Aug 20, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Advancements in science and technology can be absolutely amazing. The types of treatments that are available now are light years ahead of where we were even 10 years ago. For example, there are some new anti-viral drugs that have become available. One in particular that is for treating Hepatitis C has been very successful. It can actually cure patients of Hepatitis C, in just weeks for some cases.

So why might these drugs not be available to those who could really use them?

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Topics: health care costs, health care reform, Elizabeth Kay, AEIS Advisors, Affordable Care Act, multi-tier pharmacy benefits, prescription drug plans, prescription drug cost

Employers Use of Multi-Tier Pharmacy Benefits Continues to Rise

Posted by: Bill Olson    Aug 3, 2015 4:50:30 PM

Most employers have been using multi-tier prescription drug plans for many years, but new data released from the 2014 UBA Health Plan Survey shows a significant increase in the use of 4-tier plans, which typically cover the highest cost drugs, as well as major increases in corresponding median copays – a trend that is expected to continue.

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Topics: pharmacy benefits, UBA Health Plan Survey, prescription drug plans, multi-tier prescription drug plans