EBA: New Partnership Aims to Help Employees Save Money on Prescription Drugs
The company has teamed up with pricing platform GoodRx to make prescription pricing data available to workers on the DirectPath platform, which already allows employees to ask questions about their benefits and price compare medical procedures and services.
Bridget Lipezker, senior vice president and general manager of advocacy and transparency at DirectPath, says employees are generally not good healthcare consumers and need more education on comparing health costs.
“It takes a lot of time and energy to navigate the healthcare system,” she says. “They have misconceptions about how things work.”
Employees using GoodRx through DirectPath can enter their ZIP code and medication in the GoodRx pricing tool, which will then generate price and discount information, coupons and comparisons between generic and brand-name drugs. These types of comparisons could ultimately help employees become better healthcare consumers, Lipezker adds.
“GoodRx does an excellent job of creating an environment where people can be healthcare consumers when it comes to pharmacy,” she says.
Employer healthcare costs are expected to balloon to $15,000 per employee in 2020, according to data from the National Business Group on Health. Companies are worried about the rising cost of healthcare, including prescription drugs. Prescription drug spending reached $333.4 billion in 2017, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Helping employees make smarter decisions about where they purchase their prescriptions could help employers save some money on drugs, Lipezker says. When employees spend too much on medication, employers can bear the brunt of the cost.
“It’s a bottom line hit for them,” she says.
Employee medical spending data from tools like GoodRx or DirectPath can also be useful for advisers when devising health benefits for employers. For example, information about the types of prescriptions employees are getting could be helpful when developing a formulary, Lipezker adds.
“I think that type of analytical information becomes really important for advisers,” she says. “An adviser can help them consult on what their benefit program should be.”
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(Caroline Hroncich is a senior editor of Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser.)