Rising Prescription Drug Costs a Concern For Employers

Costs related to health care and prescription drugs are impacting large employers.

A recent survey shows the impact that the cost of prescription medications is having on employers.

The Business Group on Health released the results of its 2023 Large Employer’s Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey, which revealed that rising health care costs are a significant concern for employers. While the top three conditions fueling these costs (cancer, musculoskeletal conditions, and cardiovascular disease) have remained the same from previous years, more workers are being diagnosed with late-stage conditions than prior to the pandemic, likely due to people putting off doctor’s appointments over the previous two years.

While the need for healthcare is becoming more important, the rising costs are causing concerns.

One of the most prevalent concerns among employers is the rising cost of prescription drugs. According to the survey, these costs accounted for over a fifth of employers’ health care costs in 2021. Over 50% of these costs were charged to specialty medications.

There are some options that employers can take advantage of to reduce these costs, including biosimilar coverage and site of care and case management. Despite that, 99% of employers surveyed listed the prescription drug trend as a concern.

The survey also revealed that employers expect to cover 82% of employee coverage in 2022, which is up 2% from the previous year. While health care and prescription drugs are rising in cost, employers say they are hesitant to pass the increase in cost along to their employees and are instead looking at fundamental delivery system reforms.

The survey includes 135 large employers, who cover more than 18 million workers and was conducted between May and July.