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Economic Conditions Signal Long-Term Shift in Rx Benefit Approach
Date:9/14/2009

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- According to a new survey released today, 90 percent of plan sponsors believe that minimal attention to personal health and increased incidence of chronic illness such as diabetes and heart disease are at the root of rising health care costs. When asked what influences will have the greatest impact on controlling these escalating costs, nearly 60 percent of respondents say embracing the concept of wellness will yield the most savings, citing the need to control preventable and self-inflicted diseases often linked to obesity and smoking.

The survey, a national peer study of prescription benefit management, was conducted on behalf of Medco by the Healthcare Division of Haldy McIntosh and Associates and polled 300 plan sponsors with between 500 and 50,000+ employees in the first quarter of 2009. It included private and public sector employers and labor unions. The results are reported in the third annual edition of 9 Leading Trends in Rx Plan Management.

"This survey shows that plan sponsors recognize that prevention is key to reducing costs and are looking for approaches that will help employees embrace the concept of wellness, adopt healthier habits, and follow doctors orders when it comes to taking essential medications," said Tim Wentworth, Group President of Medco's Employer Accounts. "A large percentage of our health care dollars are being spent on treatments for diabetes, cholesterol and hypertension - conditions that in many cases could be better controlled, and even prevented, by changing behaviors."

According to a study just published in the journal Health Affairs, obesity-related conditions cost the U.S. $147 billion in direct medical spending in 2008. The study cites the rising rate of obesity as the single greatest contributor to the country's diabetes epidemic.

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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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