PLANO, Texas, Feb. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute’s (PBMI’s) recently released 2018 Trends in Drug Benefit Design report, the top challenges identified by employers with high deductible health plans (HDHPs) are that medications are not affordable to members before the deductible is met and that members do not understand how deductibles work.  In recent years, HDHPs have become a more common benefit design strategy.  Seventy-nine percent of employers offer an HDHP plan.  Employers offer HDHPs to keep premiums low for members and to help promote healthcare consumerism. However, the average deductible for family coverage is $3,571 which is more than three weeks' average U.S. pre-tax pay. This raises concerns about the affordability of medications prior to deductibles, scoring a 4.1 out of 5 in terms of problems.

“Plans are also trending towards deductibles in the drug benefit. Forty-four percent of respondents have a separate pharmacy deductible or a combined pharmacy and medical deductible.  Healthcare costs are continuing to rise, and employers have to continue to find ways to help manage these costs while providing affordable benefits for their members,” says Jane Lutz, Executive Director of PBMI.

The research also shows concerns that members may be delaying or forgoing needed prescription drugs due to deductible amounts and lack of engagement (each scored 3.7 out of 5). Despite the difficulties with HDHPs, 58% of employers still consider them an effective way to help consumers make better decisions and 41% agree that they are an effective way to manage overall drug trend.

The report includes responses from 273 benefit leaders representing an estimated 61.6 million covered lives. For more information about how healthcare benefits executives are managing their benefit plans, click here to download a copy of the report.

PBMI will host a live webinar on February 14th at 1:30 pm eastern to delve into the results from the report. Click here to register.

About PBMI

The Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute (PBMI) is the nation’s leading provider of research and education that informs, advises, and influences the industry on drug cost management. For more information, visit www.pbmi.com.

Julie Blackman

Marketing Director

jblackman@pbmi.com