Cutting Drug Copayments for Sicker Patients Can Cut Hospitalizations and Save Money
Jan 11, 2006
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Prescription drugs have been shown to be very cost-effective treatments for chronic illness. Cholesterol-lowering drugs are the most commonly prescribed class of medications in the United States and have a proven track record for reducing cardiac events and mortality. However, many benefit plans have introduced policies to reduce the use of pharmaceuticals, often by across-the-board increases in patient co-payments.
The RAND Corporation investigated the relationship between (1) co-payments and compliance with medication recommendations for patients whose doctors prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, and (2) compliance and subsequent use of expensive health care services. RAND then estimated the dollar value of enhancing compliance and reducing the use of medical services. The study found:
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