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Prescription cost increase a challenge

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A major piece of Western Kentucky University's health plan revamp was changing prescription drug coverage, something Kari A. Aikins said she knew would be among the most difficult adjustments for employees to make.

Specifically, the university's new health plans do not provide first-dollar coverage for many nonpreventive medications — including pain drugs and anti-depressants.

That meant employees would likely have to pay out-of-pocket until they reach the annual deductible, which ranges from $1,000 to $2,600 for individuals.

In addition, Ms. Aikins said the university was dissatisfied with the way its pharmacy benefits program was being managed.

She said a solution to both issues presented itself in the form of Know Your RX Coalition, a nonprofit prescription drug buying collaborative in Kentucky.

Through a partnership with Express Scripts Inc., the coalition is a pharmacy benefits consultant for the university and a prescription concierge service for workers, saving about $500,000 a year.

“We now maintain the rebates and we have direct access to customer service representatives,” Ms. Aikins said.