Employers Battle Drug Costs; Breaking Cadillac Tax News; Action Group Seeks Vice President…
December 21, 2015
The Weekly Buzz: Employers Battle Drug Costs
Rising drug prices are forcing tough decisions on U.S. employers as they grapple with providing sound benefit options for employees, while reining in unsustainable costs. Working together, Action Group members have devoted hundreds of hours over the past year to uncovering cost-management solutions under the close guidance of Dr. Stephen Schondelmeyer. Dr. Schondelmeyer, a U of MN professor and internationally renowned expert, has a unique understanding of the complex and technical issues that have led to dramatic changes in the pharmaceutical marketplace. This new Wall St. Journal article features actions being taken by the U of MN to gain greater control over prescription drug spending. To learn more about the many ways Action Group members are joining together to tackle the growing problem of drug pricing, visit our homepage and type in key words, “specialty pharmacy.”
If you are considering membership, we invite you to join us at a member meeting to learn more! You can also read about the benefits of membership by clicking here.
Meeting Summary: Hot Topics for Employers
We covered two primary “hot topics” for employers during the December 18 Member meeting:
- Attorney Phil Larson presented “The Affordable Care Act Cadillac Tax: Concerns for Employers, Employee and other considerations.” In addition to employer concerns, he discussed how quickly the tax can grow, and actions employers can take to lessen the impact, along with late-breaking news about the implementation delay.
- Julie Sonier, director of the State Employee Group Insurance Program, Minnesota Management and Budget, presented “Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network (HCP LAN): Alternative Payment Methods Framework and Measurement.” She described how the HCP LAN is accelerating the health care system’s transition to alternative payment models by combining the innovation, power and reach of the public and private sectors. Read more here.
Both presentations are available to members through the Member Center.
January 20 Member Meeting Agenda Set
Beginning with a hot breakfast, this first member meeting of 2016 will focus on the accomplishments and key findings of 2015, and set forth our plans for advancing toward 2016 goals. This is a great meeting for members and prospective members! Click here to learn more or to RSVP.
Health Care Financing Task Force Update
With many of the proposals still being modeled by an outside firm, last Friday’s meeting of the Health Care Financing Task Force focused on how the final report would be assembled. The group had a spirited discussion on voting procedures, and the new Task Force co-chair and DHS Commissioner, Emily Piper, pushed back on what she felt was an overly aggressive timeline for members to vote on their preferred recommendations.
The last of the modeling is expected to be available on Monday, December 21, and the Task Force will meet in early January to begin the final stages of their work. Click here for more information.
Join Us for the 9th Annual Employer Leadership Summit
Save the date for The Action Group’s 9th Annual Employer Leadership Summit on April 22, 2016. This event is open to all. We will feature national and international health care and benefits thought leaders, the Innovator’s Showcase, interactive polling, networking opportunities, sponsored booths, and lively discussions. If you or a partner organization would like to sponsor an exhibit, please contact us!
Position Opening: Minnesota Health Action Group Vice President
The full time vice president of The Action Group reports directly to the president and CEO. The primary responsibility is to manage Minnesota Bridges to Excellence, the Action Group’s pay-for-performance program. In addition, the vice president has responsibility for developing and managing the Action Group’s annual budget, managing the Annual Employer Benefits Survey, and collaborating in the planning, design and facilitation of Community Dialogues and member meetings. Working with the president and CEO, the vice president will ensure the organization’s operations run efficiently and will serve as back up to president and CEO as required. Complete job description available upon request. Inquiries, cover letters, and resumes may be directed to Carolyn Pare.
Thought for the Week
“A way pharmaceutical companies try to thwart the shift to generics is with coupons that can reduce patients’ copays for brands to the same level as for generic drugs, or even to zero. University of Minnesota officials say that while the coupons cut costs for patients, they raise them for the payer, because of how they encourage use of more-expensive branded drugs.”