Prescription Costs Change for Employees as Co-pay Amounts Fluctuate

August 9, 2011    

Healthcare reform will soon require all new medical plans to offer some type of prescription coverage, reducing unavoidable costs for many workers. Although medical plans vary from employer to employer, the majority of healthcare organizations already include prescription co-pays in their policies.

According to the 2011 Compensation Data Healthcare survey, 95 percent of reporting healthcare organizations included prescription co-pays in the employee medical plan. In 2011, almost 100 percent of health maintenance organizations (HMO) include a co-pay while only 61 percent of high deductible health plans (HDHP) include a co-pay.

“Prescription costs are expected to drop in the future, but for some employees, it will still be a challenge now,” said Amy Kaminski, director of marketing for Compdata Surveys, the nation’s leading pay and benefits survey data provider.

Co-pays based on a percentage of cost have seen a wave of change in the last few years. In 2009, the average co-pay for generic prescriptions was 25.2 percent, dropping to 20.2 percent in 2010. This year, the average co-pay rose to 24.3 percent for generic. HDHP plans have drastically reduced the percent of co-pay required by an employee since 2009. In 2011, the average prescription co-pay for generic was nearly 17 percent, a significant decrease from the average 38.8 percent co-pay in 2009.

Overall, the average co-pay dollar amount has remained similar since last year, sitting at $11 for generic and $31 for formulary prescriptions. In 2010, co-pay amounts averaged $11 for generic and $29 for formulary prescriptions. The majority of HMO plans, 88 percent, required prescription co-pay amounts based on a flat dollar amount. HDHP plans are increasingly offering prescription plans without co-pays for employees, with 31.1 percent in 2010 and 38.8 percent this year.

About the Survey
Compensation Data 2011 Healthcare surveyed 250 industry-specific job titles and more than 350 benchmark titles ranging from entry-level to top executives. Data was collected from more than 1,100 healthcare employers reporting on nearly 5,300 locations across the country. The results provide a comprehensive summary of pay data, benefit information and pay practices with an effective date of January 1, 2011.

Compdata Surveys is the nation’s leading compensation and benefits survey data provider. Thousands of U.S. organizations provide data each year ensuring the reliability of our results. Compdata Surveys has been providing comprehensive data at affordable prices to organizations from coast to coast since 1988. For more information about our compensation and benefit surveys, contact Michelle Willis at (800) 300-9570.

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