Higher Co-Pays May Not Save Money

Discussion
May 20, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A new study by the RAND Corporation suggests that companies may wind up spending the same if not more on health care costs when they require employees to pick up a larger portion
of prescription drug payments.

In some cases, people with conditions such as diabetes, asthma, allergies, depression, etc. stop taking medications rather than paying for the drugs. As a result, many wind up
requiring additional care that costs more than the medications.

“Raising co-payments is a blunt tool for changing people’s use of prescription medicine,” said Dana Goldman, director of health economics at RAND Health and lead author of the
study.

“If we want to change the patterns of drug use so that we don’t adversely affect patients’ health, that will require more sophisticated benefit designs,” she said.

Moderator’s Comment: What if the findings of this study turn out to be correct? What must be done to keep spiraling
health care costs from ruining the health of businesses and individuals?

– George Anderson – Moderator

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