As an independent benefits broker, we are fortunate to work with all Canadian insurance carriers. This means that we have visibility to what insurance companies are doing about increasing prescription drug costs. In fact, Canada’s leading insurance carriers are in the process of implementing strategies to address this very issue. More details to come later this year.
The B.C. Government has also been trying to address the rising costs of drugs with a pricing deal put in place 18 months ago, with the B.C. Pharmacy Association and the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores.
Unfortunately, this pricing deal didn’t provide the cost savings the Government anticipated. So, the program is being terminated with a plan to introduce new legislation by April 2013.
Early reports indicate that this new legislation will outline that the B.C. Government will pay for generic drugs up to 25% of brand name drugs.
In the interim, the following remains:
- B.C. Government agrees to pay for generic drugs up to 35% of brand name price.
- Pharmacy dispensing fees will be covered up to $10 per script.
It’s great to know that the insurance carriers and the government are trying to do something about this issue; however, employers and employees have an opportunity to make an impact too.
Here are two of many options to consider:
- Cost-Share: Design your employee benefits plan to cost-share premiums (e.g. 80% ER/20% EE) with your employees which helps everyone be more aware, invested and accountable.
- Encourage employees to be smart shoppers: Did you know that there is a huge difference of pharmacy dispensing fees? They can range from $4 per prescription to over $11 – depending on where you shop. Those costs add up! Employees can do their part to help keep prescription drug costs down.
Did you know?
ENCOMPASS provides employee benefit and group retirement consulting services to regions outside of the Okanagan? Some B.C. locations we service include: Hope, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, and Burnaby - just to name a few.
Know of a company that could benefit from the services of an independent employee benefits broker? ENCOMPASS Benefits & HR Solutions can help with all your employee benefits and group retirement needs.