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Experts debate drug costs online

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Some factors in the rising cost of prescription drugs are outside employers' control, but benefit plan sponsors can implement strategies to reduce costs and enhance the value of drug benefits, experts said during a recent Business Insurance Online Executive Forum.

BI's free Dec. 12 webinar, "Hard to Swallow: Why the Costs of Drugs are so High," has been archived online at www.BusinessInsurance.com/webinars.

Among the strategies that plan sponsors can use are active management of drug utilization and cost-sharing programs, such as tiering copayments and providing incentives to use less expensive alternatives. Plan designs may include deductibles for prescriptions and exclusions or limits for certain lifestyle drugs. Communication with plan members and working with prescription benefit management firms to align incentives are other important tools available to employers, the speakers said.

Experts on the panel were: Rhonda Grabow, vp of strategic planning at Innoviant Inc.; Michael Jacobs, a principal and national practice leader at Buck Consultants L.L.C.; and Lisa Zeitel, a principal and health & benefits consulting practice leader at Mercer Health & Benefits. BI Editor Regis Coccia moderated the panel.

Business Insurance's Online Executive Forum webinars, developed by our editorial staff, are highly informative online events in which noted speakers and respected business leaders come together with BI editors to discuss the most pressing issues in this live, interactive format.

For more information and to register for future webinar events, please visit www.BusinessInsurance.com/webinars.