Thursday, September 24, 2020

Reference Pricing: "Gross" Invoice Cost vs. AWP for Popular Generic and Brand Prescription Drugs (Volume 332)

This document is updated weekly, but why is it important? Healthcare marketers are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams to augment lower reimbursements provided under PPACA. Prescription drugs, particularly specialty, are key drivers in the growth strategies of PBMs, TPAs, and MCOs pursuant to health care reform.

How to Determine if Your Company [or Client] is Overpaying

Step #1:  Obtain a price list for generic prescription drugs from your broker, TPA, ASO or PBM every month.

Step #2:  In addition, request an electronic copy of all your prescription transactions (claims) for the billing cycle which coincides with the date of your price list.

Step #3:  Compare approximately 10 to 20 prescription claims against the price list to confirm contract agreement. It's impractical to verify all claims, but 10 is a sample size large enough to extract some good assumptions.

Step #4:  Now take it one step further. Check what your organization has paid, for prescription drugs, against our acquisition costs then determine if a problem exists. When there is more than a 5% price differential for brand drugs or 25% (paid versus actual cost) for generic drugs we consider this a potential problem thus further investigation is warranted.


Multiple price differential discoveries mean that your organization or client is likely overpaying. REPEAT these steps once per month.


-- Tip --

Always include a semi-annual market check in your PBM contract language. Market checks provide each payer the ability, during the contract, to determine if better pricing is available in the marketplace compared to what the client is currently receiving.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Free Webinar | The Untold Truth: How Pharmacy Benefit Managers Make Money

The reason so many PBMs are reluctant to offer radical transparency is in doing so their revenues would be cut in half! How many businesses do you know will voluntarily cut their revenues in half? Instead, non-fiduciary PBMs seek out arbitrage opportunities to foster top-line growth. Want to learn more? 


Here is what some participants have said about the webinar:

"Thank you Tyrone. Nice job, good information." David Stoots, AVP

"Thank you! Awesome presentation." Mallory Nelson, PharmD

"Thank you Tyrone for this informative meeting." David Wachtel, VP

"...Great presentation! I had our two partners on the presentation as well. Very informative." Nolan Waterfall, Agent/Benefits Specialist


A snapshot of what you will learn during this 30-minute webinar:

  • Hidden cash flow streams in the PBM Industry
  • Basic to intermediate level PBM terminologies
  • Examples of drugs that you might be covering that are costing you
  • The #1 metric to measure when evaluating PBM proposals
  • Strategies to significantly reduce costs and improve member health

Sincerely,
TransparentRx
Tyrone D. Squires, MBA
10845 Griffith Peak Drive, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89135
866-499-1940 Ext. 201



P.S.  Yes, it's recorded. I know you're busy ... so register now and we'll send you the link to the session recording as soon as it's ready.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Tuesday Tip of the Week: Focus on Lowest Net Cost Drugs

Easier said than done since many purchasers of PBM services believe they have it all figured out. Organizations, such as the New York Department of Health, often downplay intelligence, believe their competitors to possess access to the identical information. Well, everyone also has access to a large array of fruits and vegetables, yet many don’t eat them or eat only a few. New Yorkers wastefully spent more than $706 million in Medicaid payments over three years. The state Department of Health uncovered the overcharges for pharmacy services, according to audits released by the state comptroller.

State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, released five audits with several recommendations to improve the program. The comptroller criticized state health officials for failing to establish sufficient oversight and control with managed care payments, which led to the unnecessary payments. The department has worked to ensure efficient and cost-effective pharmacy services for New Yorkers dependent on Medicaid with the FFS model. 

Many employers, unions, and government agencies pay large consultancies and brokerage firms to help them avoid overpaying for pharmacy services. So then how does this keep happening? There are a number of reasons including misaligned incentives, inefficient procurement and indifference just to name a few. But, the primary reason is without question a wholesale lack of education around pharmacy benefits management in general. It is education which leads employers to leveraging the four pillars to better PBM performance.

Click to Learn More

Auditors found DOH missed opportunities to lower costs on pharmacy services delivered through Medicaid managed care because officials did not ensure the use of the lowest net cost drugs, according to the comptroller. Auditors estimate $605 million was spent in unnecessary drug costs from Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 31, 2019. Folks access doesn't translate into action. Buzzwords and repurposed RFPs with 100 hundred questions are not working. 

A senior leader from one of the world’s largest 
pharmaceutical manufacturers emailed this to me...  

"We have had numerous debates internally about how purchasers are asking for transparency vs. just the lowest price. Contract nomenclature often obscures the real price. We get asked often about direct contracting between manufacturer and employer.  Lots of barriers but conceptually something that needs to be considered and they are not asking for a lower net price vs. the PBM...just better optics!”

Education is key to use of lowest net cost drugs in pharmacy benefit plans. Only the most sophisticated purchasers of PBM services will have the knowledge and confidence to bind lowest net costs for prescription drugs into contract language and benefit design. Hence, your competitive advantage includes executing good analysis of the correct information then deciding what all of this suggests for your organization. Those who seize the chance and develop a good plan that may reasonably be accomplished have a higher probability of getting to lowest net cost. 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Reference Pricing: "Gross" Invoice Cost vs. AWP for Popular Generic and Brand Prescription Drugs (Volume 331)

This document is updated weekly, but why is it important? Healthcare marketers are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams to augment lower reimbursements provided under PPACA. Prescription drugs, particularly specialty, are key drivers in the growth strategies of PBMs, TPAs, and MCOs pursuant to health care reform.


How to Determine if Your Company [or Client] is Overpaying

Step #1:  Obtain a price list for generic prescription drugs from your broker, TPA, ASO or PBM every month.

Step #2:  In addition, request an electronic copy of all your prescription transactions (claims) for the billing cycle which coincides with the date of your price list.

Step #3:  Compare approximately 10 to 20 prescription claims against the price list to confirm contract agreement. It's impractical to verify all claims, but 10 is a sample size large enough to extract some good assumptions.

Step #4:  Now take it one step further. Check what your organization has paid, for prescription drugs, against our acquisition costs then determine if a problem exists. When there is more than a 5% price differential for brand drugs or 25% (paid versus actual cost) for generic drugs we consider this a potential problem thus further investigation is warranted.


Multiple price differential discoveries mean that your organization or client is likely overpaying. REPEAT these steps once per month.


-- Tip --

Always include a semi-annual market check in your PBM contract language. Market checks provide each payer the ability, during the contract, to determine if better pricing is available in the marketplace compared to what the client is currently receiving.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tuesday Tip of the Week: Increase out-of-pocket (OOP) spending for specialty drugs

Medicare beneficiaries pay substantially higher out-of-pocket (OOP) costs for specialty drugs than employer-sponsored insurance enrollees. Based on specialty drug class, average OOP spending for Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) enrollees was $108 to $1437 greater than spending by employer-sponsored insurance enrollees. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had slightly higher OOP spending than FFS beneficiaries. 

The pharmaceutical pipeline is moving toward more high-cost specialty drugs. From 2008 until 2017, CMS defined specialty drugs as those with a monthly cost greater than $600; beginning in 2017, the threshold became $670. These drugs are primarily biologics and biosimilars used to treat complex chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), cancer, and hepatitis C. Patients with these conditions have few other clinical options, forcing them to pay high cost-sharing rates or forgo treatment.

How Much US Households with Employer Insurance Spend Premiums OOP |  Commonwealth Fund

Care for these diseases can begin around age 40 years and continue throughout life, making health insurance coverage likely to span across employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) and Medicare prescription drug (Part D) coverage. Few studies have examined whether the financial burden placed on patients who take specialty drugs differs among those with ESI, Medicare fee-for-service (FFS), and Medicare managed care (Medicare Advantage [MA]) drug coverage.

The benefit structure of Part D results in Medicare enrollees paying substantially higher OOP costs for specialty drugs than employer-sponsored insurance enrollees, primarily due to the absence of an OOP cap in Medicare and the donut hole. Given the policy and clinical concerns that high cost sharing may lead to nonadherence and financial burden, it is important to understand the levels of cost sharing across insurance types and the role that benefit design may play.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Reference Pricing: "Gross" Invoice Cost vs. AWP for Popular Generic and Brand Prescription Drugs (Volume 330)

This document is updated weekly, but why is it important? Healthcare marketers are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams to augment lower reimbursements provided under PPACA. Prescription drugs, particularly specialty, are key drivers in the growth strategies of PBMs, TPAs, and MCOs pursuant to health care reform.


How to Determine if Your Company [or Client] is Overpaying

Step #1:  Obtain a price list for generic prescription drugs from your broker, TPA, ASO or PBM every month.

Step #2:  In addition, request an electronic copy of all your prescription transactions (claims) for the billing cycle which coincides with the date of your price list.

Step #3:  Compare approximately 10 to 20 prescription claims against the price list to confirm contract agreement. It's impractical to verify all claims, but 10 is a sample size large enough to extract some good assumptions.

Step #4:  Now take it one step further. Check what your organization has paid, for prescription drugs, against our acquisition costs then determine if a problem exists. When there is more than a 5% price differential for brand drugs or 25% (paid versus actual cost) for generic drugs we consider this a potential problem thus further investigation is warranted.


Multiple price differential discoveries mean that your organization or client is likely overpaying. REPEAT these steps once per month.


-- Tip --

Always include a semi-annual market check in your PBM contract language. Market checks provide each payer the ability, during the contract, to determine if better pricing is available in the marketplace compared to what the client is currently receiving.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Tuesday Tip of the Week: When the carrier, PBM and ASO all share the same parent company you are fully insured (Rerun)

Well, I guess it depends on why you moved away from the fully-insured funding option in the first place. There are several pros for self-funding chief among them include:

1) More Control
2) Better Reporting
3) Improved Pricing
3) Formulary
4) Better Health Outcomes
5) Elimination of Rebates to Carriers
6) More Transparency

With that said, I am asking plan sponsors and their independent consultants to consider the following question.

Click to Learn More

A self-insured pharmacy benefit plan should provide better cost control, transparency and technology as well as information and reporting. When your PBM is reluctant to share valuable information to help you manage and evaluate performance are you really self-insured? Health insurers may combine aspects of the two funding options to subsidize pricing (cost-shifting). 

For companies with a carved in program, there may be concerns about changing to a carved-out program due to a perception that additional time and resources will be needed, but I have seen that on a day to day basis, there is little difference in having a separate pharmacy program. The farther removed you are from the downsides of a fully-insured pharmacy benefit plan the better off your group will be.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Reference Pricing: "Gross" Invoice Cost vs. AWP for Popular Generic and Brand Prescription Drugs (Volume 329)

This document is updated weekly, but why is it important? Healthcare marketers are aggressively pursuing new revenue streams to augment lower reimbursements provided under PPACA. Prescription drugs, particularly specialty, are key drivers in the growth strategies of PBMs, TPAs, and MCOs pursuant to health care reform.


How to Determine if Your Company [or Client] is Overpaying

Step #1:  Obtain a price list for generic prescription drugs from your broker, TPA, ASO or PBM every month.

Step #2:  In addition, request an electronic copy of all your prescription transactions (claims) for the billing cycle which coincides with the date of your price list.

Step #3:  Compare approximately 10 to 20 prescription claims against the price list to confirm contract agreement. It's impractical to verify all claims, but 10 is a sample size large enough to extract some good assumptions.

Step #4:  Now take it one step further. Check what your organization has paid, for prescription drugs, against our acquisition costs then determine if a problem exists. When there is more than a 5% price differential for brand drugs or 25% (paid versus actual cost) for generic drugs we consider this a potential problem thus further investigation is warranted.


Multiple price differential discoveries mean that your organization or client is likely overpaying. REPEAT these steps once per month.


-- Tip --

Always include a semi-annual market check in your PBM contract language. Market checks provide each payer the ability, during the contract, to determine if better pricing is available in the marketplace compared to what the client is currently receiving.