Taking Action Express: Burden of Specialty Rx; Register for Leadership Summit; Health Care Profits Soar, Patients Struggle to Pay…

February 24, 2015

specialtyThe Weekly Buzz: Specialty Drugs Changing the Role of Benefit Advisors

Developing a specialty pharmacy cost management strategy is a top concern for employers. This new article from Employee Benefit News discusses how this is changing the role of the benefit advisor. Along with guest advisor and national expert, Dr. Stephen Schondelmeyer, The Action Group is conducting a Care Delivery Learning Network to help employer-member participants understand all they can about new specialty pharmacy developments and management tactics. Visit mnhealthactiongroup.org and type in key words “specialty pharmacy” for more information.

2015summiticon-01All are Welcome at the 8th Annual Employer Leadership Summit: Renew, Refresh, Reinvigorate

We hope you will join us for a full day of inspiring presentations and conversations on April 17, 2015. We will feature national and international health care and benefits thought leaders, the Innovator’s Showcase, employer roundtable, interactive polling, networking opportunities, sponsored booths, and lively discussions. Click here to see the preliminary agenda.

Would you like to participate as a Summit sponsor? Sponsorship gives you the opportunity to share your messages with key decision-makers from around the region. Click here to learn more.

Don’t Miss the Early Bird Special!

Minnesota Health Action Group Members: $99
($199 after March 20)

Non-members: $199
($299 after March 20)


nytimesHealth Care Industry Profits Soar While Consumers Sink

Profits are way up for drug manufacturers, hospitals and insurance companies, while consumers are facing backbreaking costs due to factors beyond their control. “We’re talking about the fact that people can’t afford their health care, while there are huge profits on the supply-side of the industry,” says Carolyn Pare, president and CEO of the Minnesota Health Action Group. Read her new blog about this important topic here; view the ongoing New York Times series, “Paying Till it Hurts” here.

Thank You Benefits Survey Participants!

Click here for details about the survey. To review the 2014 Executive Summary, click here.
We are very pleased with the level of participation in this year’s Employer Benefits Survey and would like to thank all of the participants. Action Group members who took the survey will receive the full results packet at a March 27 meeting. Non-members who completed the survey receive an expanded executive summary of the results in early April.

For non-members who participated in this year’s survey, there is still time to join The Action Group and participate in the results discussion as a member on March 27. Click here for more information.

diabetesHappy Hour Event to Help Make Diabetes Disappear

In the last five years alone, the number of Americans with diabetes has increased by an alarming 27 percent. As this U.S. epidemic grows, so does the need to address diabetes in the workplace. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) will be hosting a happy hour on Thursday, March 12, 2015, from 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., at Pinstripes in Edina to raise awareness about diabetes and to showcase tools and resources the ADA offers to help organizations educate employees about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices. Click here to learn more and to register.



choosingwiselylogoNational Heart Month: Choosing Wisely® Materials Support Patient and Provider Education

Do you know who should receive stress cardiac imaging? Or how often coronary angiography should be performed? How about which patients are good candidates for pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)? Click on the links provided to learn how Choosing Wisely is promoting better communications through its “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” series.

Minnesota_State_Capitol_5From the Capitol

A bill has been introduced on behalf of the Minnesota Medical Association that would have a dramatic affect on how prescription drugs are dispensed in the state. Senate File 934/House File 1060 would make a number of changes, notably eliminating any kind of prior authorization for drugs listed on a formulary. The Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) and other supporting organizations claim the current process is too slow and burdensome, stealing time their members could be using to see patients. Pharmacy benefit managers, health plans, and county-based purchasers in the state are very concerned that without a proven screening process for drug utilization in place, costs for employers and the state would rapidly escalate.

You can see the full legislative proposal at the web link here.

We will be keeping members updated on this bill as the legislative session moves forward.

Thought for the Week

“I believe the rise of specialty drugs has made PBMs more accountable for the ‘M’ in their name. Plan sponsors expect to get the most for their dollar and look to PBMs to ensure that everything is being done to control costs while balancing member care.”

Bill Bacich
EVP, Solid Benefit Guidance