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Some Essential Benefits Rules Could Worry Small Businesses
Date:9/29/2011

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As small businesses struggle to afford health benefits, a new employer survey indicates concern that forthcoming Essential Health Benefits regulations could include special interest protections that empower drugstores and drug companies to raise prescription drug costs, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said today. Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) administer drug benefits for thousands of small businesses throughout America.

The poll surveyed 400 owners and HR managers of small businesses with 100 or fewer employees directly impacted by the upcoming Essential Health Benefits regulations. By a 78 to 11 percent margin, respondents said "small businesses should be able to reduce prescription drug costs as much as possible, even if it means drugstores make less profit." Only six percent were interested in knowing how much drugstores are paid.

Small businesses disagree with the drugstore and drug company lobbies on the following issues:

  • Small businesses want access to plans that exclude expensive drugstores from their networks. 61 percent say it is a good idea to "allow employers to choose lower cost plans that exclude the most expensive drugstores from their coverage network."
  • Seventy-four percent oppose mandating across-the-board, low co-pays for high-priced drugs. By a 2-1 margin, small businesses think it would be better to require drug companies to offer case-by-case price discounts to those in need.
  • Small businesses want to hold drugstores accountable. 88 percent say it is a good idea to "allow plans to audit drugstores that appear to be overcharging."
  • Small businesses want access to plans that encourage delivery of prescription drugs through the mail. 79 percent say it is a good idea to "allow
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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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