November is American Diabetes Month, and many employers are making efforts to educate employees about diabetes risks, as well as provide ongoing support for employees who have a diabetes or pre-diabetes diagnosis. The numbers below are a glimpse of how this chronic disease is affecting employees individually and the workforce.
- 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.
- On average, people with diagnosed diabetes have medical expenditures approximately 2.3 times higher than what expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.
- The cost of increased absenteeism is estimated to be $3.3 billion.
- Reduced productivity while at work is estimated to cost $26.9 billion.
The Role of Pharmacy Benefit Plans
So how can your pharmacy benefit plan help you control the costs of diabetes and support your employees? Talk to your pharmacy benefit management company or your broker about these solutions.
Finding Effective Medications that Cost Less
Pharmacists who work in benefits management can often find medications that cost less than a prescribed brand while also offering the same efficacy. This is often referred to as step therapy. Step therapy is about more than simply requiring generic medications. Alternative medications are only chosen if they are just as effective as the higher priced drug. Step therapy can save both the employer and the patient money.
Lower Plan and Out-of-Pocket Costs Through Rebates
Many manufacturers of diabetes medications offer rebates. There are a variety of ways PBMs handle rebates. True Rx Health Strategists passes 100% of rebates on to employers, allowing them to lower overall costs for employees. When employees spend less on plan or prescription costs, it may help increase medication adherence.
Another way patients can lower out-of-pocket costs is through co-pay cards from medication manufacturers. These are often available online. The True Rx Patient Care Team can also help patients locate co-pay cards if needed.
Coordinating On-Site Clinic and Retail Prescriptions for Better Care
On-site health clinics are a great benefit for employees. However, if medications prescribed in the clinic are not coordinated with medications that may have been prescribed by another provider, it can create health risks for the employee. Since employees with diabetes often take multiple medications, it’s important that providers and pharmacists have a complete picture of all drugs prescribed.
True Rx Health Strategists offers a program called True Meds℠ that can help prevent medication overlaps or interactions. The program also helps employers see their full medication costs. Many employers with on-site clinics have found True Meds to be a valuable program.