Virginia Legislative Leaders Talk Prescription Prices

Virginia Legislative Leaders Talk Prescription Prices

Universal Rx hosted an intimate roundtable discussion to help further educate Members of the Virginia State Legislature on the current media buzz surrounding rising drug costs as well as new developments coming about for the Affordable Care Act in 2016.

With additional changes in the ACA just a few months away, the purpose of the discussion was to prepare State decision makers of how these regulations will affect Virginia. Employers can expect higher premiums, rising out-of-pocket maximums for employees and numerous other repercussions.

“Our goal is to address the issues surrounding drug manufacturers and how their practices of spiking drug costs trickle down, affecting health insurance companies, employers and consumers. By educating those who can make a difference we hope to bring solutions to the growing issue.” said Jan Sessor, President of Universal Rx.

Sessor goes on to say, “Manufacturers continue to leverage co-pay forgiveness programs to drive market share to more expensive drugs that are exponentially increasing prices while leaving employers and health plans to cover the bill once they meet a $6,600 annual out-of-pocket. This practice and the costs associated with the results is not sustainable.  Statistically, the United States is the most expensive country in the world to obtain prescriptions and our inflated prices, caused by poor design and execution of ACA, are substantially subsidizing the other countries around the globe.  Meanwhile, our leaders in Washington that own ACA continue to think it is a great solution”.

As drug manufacturers continue to increase the cost of life saving medications, insurance companies are forced to change alongside them. While these effects filter throughout the necessary junctures, the manufacturers continue on unscathed. As mentioned by Nancy Dye, “[this results in] unintended consequences of decisions made without input of key stakeholders.”

The event, was held Tuesday, October 2, 2015 and included 2016 Senate Candidate Nancy Dye, District Representative Jennifer Faulkner with Congressman Goodlatte’s office, Virginia House of Delegates Greg Habeeb and Chris Head. Licensed insurance experts were also present to explain the significances of the ACA, including: Burman Clark, President of Muneris Inc.; Virginia Clark, Expatriate Prescription Services; Amy Mutter, Innovative Insurance Group, formerly Benefits Group; Chris Pyle, Delta Dental of Virginia; Jan Sessor, President of Universal Rx and Allan Zaenger, President and Owner of Pharmaceutical Horizons.

“Access to healthcare, the quality of healthcare and the skyrocketing costs of healthcare are all crucial issues facing our Commonwealth. This roundtable was an eye opening experience to see how the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act, especially those relating to the cost of prescription drugs, are creating huge problems for employers and our Commonwealth. If we don’t fix the problems created by Obamacare, we are going to continue to see skyrocketing healthcare costs, high unemployment and problems with the state budget. This conversation was one of many we’re having to address these issues and I hope all citizens and policy makers will understand the consequences if we do nothing.” – Greg Habee

“The possible impact of the Affordable Care Act on pharmaceutical pricing illustrated today may be yet one more example of the law’s countless unintended consequences.  While more research and focus are needed to better understand all the factors that may be impacting drug costs, ACA’s results continue to fail in affordability. ACA regulates the financing of health care, but it does little to improve the dramatic rate at which that cost is outpacing inflation.”  – Amy Mutter

“The escalation in prescription drug pricing is having a negative impact on employer sponsored health insurance, as employers are looking at ways to mitigate healthcare cost increases by increasing deductibles.  Higher deductibles only exacerbate the issue for the employees:  higher premium costs and higher out of pocket expenses.  The dramatic increase in drug costs also impacts Medicare Beneficiaries who have seen their Medicare Part D premiums increase 20 – 30% for 2016.” – Burman Clark

Identifying the magnitude of changes being made in the healthcare industry and educating lawmakers is the best way to encourage positive change. Universal Rx plans to hold more discussions surrounding these topics in the future.

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