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New Study Shows Lowering Co-payments Can Lead to Lower Total Healthcare Costs, Improved Overall Health
Date:5/12/2008

al Diabetes Medication and Health Resources Utilization was a 2-year retrospective study. In it, PPG Industries analyzed the eligibility, medical, and pharmacy claims data from 2052 employees, retirees, and dependents with type 2 diabetes to determine the impact of different co-payment levels.

Using data from 2003-2005, individuals were grouped according to their average monthly prescription co-payments: low ($0-9), medium ($10-19), or high ($20+). Within these groups, individuals were then further divided by age. This stratification [under 65 years (n=908) and those 65 years or older (n=1144)] was necessary because for those individuals over 65, healthcare coverage is provided in part by Medicare, therefore complete cost data were not available.

The study was co-authored by Alberto M. Colombi, MD, (PPG Industries); Kristina Yu-Isenberg, PhD and Julie Priest, MSPH (GSK).

Key Findings

Key findings of the study included:

-- High co-payments were associated with lower adherence to oral diabetes

medications for all patients regardless of age.

-- High co-payments were associated with higher total healthcare costs for

patients less than 65.

-- For those under 65, total healthcare costs for the low co-payment

group were 22% lower than the highest co-payment group, amounting to

$3116 per patient per year.

-- For those aged 65 or older, the risk for hospitalizations was 36% lower

among those in the lowest co-payment group.

The current study complements the results of earlier studies from GSK's Health Management Innovations team which indicate that increasing prescription co-payments results in decreased medication adherence. These studies, read in the context of the body of literature on medication adherence, suggest that value-based benefit design can lead to better adherence -- and better outcomes for both patients and employers.

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SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline
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