Only limited employers carve out their Rx benefit

September 4, 2006

More companies are in favor of carving in their prescription benefits with their overall health plans than carving them out, according to the results of the 2006 Arxcel Prescription Benefit Research Survey.

More companies are in favor of carving in their prescription benefits with their overall health plans than carving them out, according to the results of the 2006 Arxcel Prescription Benefit Research Survey.

The survey, conducted in March 2006, used telephone interviews with corporate executives from companies with 1,000 or more employees nationwide. One hundred interviews were completed.

Asked what is the most important reason for carving in, 22% of respondents said it allows for integration of medical and prescription data; 12% found it makes overall program administration easier; 10% mentioned it reduces overall program costs; 1% stated they had a bad experience in the past when they carved out; 1% said they had not seen any data to show the benefit of carving out; and 16% reported they have not evaluated carving out as an option. (Thirty-eight percent were not asked this question because their company carved in.)

The survey also asked respondents who's to blame for skyrocketing prescription drug costs. One-third (36%) of respondents pointed the finger at DTC advertising; 26% mentioned the expense of developing new drugs; 16% identified the aging population; 14% put the blame on inflation; and 8% mentioned changes in the use of pharmaceutical products. (In last year's survey, 30% of respondents chose DTC advertising and 29% cited the expense of developing new drugs.)

Once again, respondents were asked to rate each of a list of potential solutions, on a scale of 1 to 4, as to their individual viability at slowing the rate of price increases. (A rating of 1 indicates high potential to make an impact, while a rating of 4 means the solution has little or no impact.)

Here are some solutions offered and how respondents rated them:

This solution was rated 1 or 2 by 75% of respondents. In 2005, 66% rated this a 1 or a 2.

Seventy-two percent of respondents gave this solution a favorable rating. This is up from 2005's results, where there was a split decision of 53% positive versus 47% rating it a 3 or a 4.

This was rated a 1 or 2 by 69% of respondents.

Sixty-five percent of respondents give this solution a rating of 1 or 2.

Sixty-four percent gave this solution a rating of 1 or 2.

This was rated a 1 or 2 by 54%; 46% selected a 3 or 4.