Lower Co-pays Increase Medication Use

Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

A new study conducted by the University of Michigan and Harvard University researchers finds that reduced prescription co-pays can have a positive impact on medication compliance and healthcare costs. The study involved more than 35,000 employees and dependents at Company A where co-pays were reduced, and more than 70,000 employees and dependents at Company B, where co-pays stayed the same. All had regular phone contact with nurses in their disease management programs, who offered help based on each person’s test results, medication use, doctor visits and other health information.

The study found that:

  • Company A significantly increased the use of important preventive medicines among its employees by automatically making some medications free, and slashing co-pays for other drugs by 50 percent. Meanwhile, Company B, which kept its co-pays the same, didn’t experience the same increase in use of preventive medicines.
  • The difference in medication use between chronically ill employees at the two companies was sizable — even though all the employees in the study were also enrolled in special programs designed to help them take control of their diseases.

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