The end of January is a special time for many of us — and not always a happy one. It’s a time to realize we’ve failed to keep new year’s resolutions, to remember how much we hate cold weather, and to chafe at the U.S. healthcare system as newly reset insurance deductibles stick us with fresh medical bills. But take heart! Relief may be coming.
According to a Fortune commentary piece by Mark Fendrick and David A. Ricks, “New rules from the Internal Revenue Service now clearly allow high-deductible health plans to cover certain preventive medicines, like insulin, before patients meet their deductible.” They argue that employers, who cover more than half of Americans on private health insurance, should take the lead and leverage these new rules to help make insulin more affordable for employees living with diabetes.
Research conducted by two organizations affiliated with the authors shows that the cost of this coverage to employers would be minimal — less than a 2% premium increase for insulin. It more than pays for itself considering the cost of complications from unchecked diabetes (expensive hospitalizations and surgeries), not to mention lost productivity.
The authors further argue that employers could cover this without raising costs if they consider cutting care that doesn’t pay off, such as vitamin D screening and prostate cancer screening for men over age 74.
Fendrick directs the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design at the University of Michigan, and Ricks is chairman and CEO of Eli Lilly, a leading pharmaceutical company. Read the full article here.