Life insurer introduces new service for employers

Company to offer full suite of services to help employers manage pharmaceutical benefit costs in all but one province

Life insurer introduces new service for employers
A Canadian insurer is introducing a new service designed to help employers to better manage drug benefit costs while also assisting employees to enjoy better health.

Empire Life Insurance Company is introducing Actively Managed Drug Solutions for customers that have pay-direct drug plans. According to a company release, the service will be managed by Express Scripts Canada and is meant to help employees who take maintenance or specialty drugs while providing personalized coaching and education.

It is hoped that with the service, employees will be able to better understand their health and the treatments they receive; benefit from the convenience of longer day supplies of medication; and improve the chances of them taking medication as prescribed.

The statement outlines how chronic disease has increased in Canada and more medication is being charged to drug benefit plans while new drugs enter the market. They have the potential to dramatically improve treatments but can also be expensive.

According to Express Scripts Canada, specialty drugs accounted for two per cent of the claims they adjudicated in 2015 but 30 per cent of customers’ drug spend overall and it predicts this will reach 42 per cent of spend by 2020. Tackling cost head-on through cost shifting or cutting benefits can be counterproductive in the long run. As such, Steve Pong, senior vice-president of group solutions at Empire Life believes that when employees can’t afford to fill their prescriptions they often go without, which can lead to further illness, the need for more medication, and disability absences.

“New higher cost drugs are just one of the factors putting pressure on drug benefits, and our customers need solutions to keep their plans sustainable and competitive,” he said. “We are delighted to partner with Express Scripts Canada on Actively Managed Drug Solutions. It helps employees stay on track with their treatment, and helps customers keep their drug benefits more sustainable so plans can afford to cover specialty drugs when they are needed.”

The service will be offered in all Canadian provinces, except Quebec.