Rx for employers: the Detroit Regional Chamber is fighting for lower health-care costs.
Many employers are desperately trying to maintain health-care coverage for their employees and families amid a deepening deep·en
tr. & intr.v. deep·ened, deep·en·ing, deep·ens
To make or become deep or deeper.
Noun 1. deepening - a process of becoming deeper and more profound crisis, which will likely mean another 15- to 22-percent increase in health insurance premiums. Unfortunately this trend is expected to continue into the foreseeable fore·see
tr.v. fore·saw , fore·seen , fore·see·ing, fore·sees
To see or know beforehand: foresaw the rapid increase in unemployment. future as a number of public-policy issues are ultimately addressed in Washington Washington, town, England
Washington, town (1991 pop. 48,856), Sunderland metropolitan district, NE England. Washington was designated one of the new towns in 1964 to alleviate overpopulation in the Tyneside-Wearside area. and Lansing Lansing.
1 Village (1990 pop. 28,086), Cook co., NE Ill., a suburb of Chicago, near the Ind. line; inc. 1893. Among the city's industries are meatpacking, food processing, and the manufacture of metal products.
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The Detroit Regional Chamber, through its Health Care Stakeholders Stakeholders
All parties that have an interest, financial or otherwise, in a firm-stockholders, creditors, bondholders, employees, customers, management, the community, and the government. Initiative, is actively advocating on several key issues of importance to employers, including healthcare financing, the health-care workforce, information technology, quality and incentives. The issue of prescription drugs prescription drug Prescription medication Pharmacology An FDA-approved drug which must, by federal law or regulation, be dispensed only pursuant to a prescription–eg, finished dose form and active ingredients subject to the provisos of the Federal Food, Drug, , in particular, is receiving considerable attention.
To address this issue, the Chamber is teaming with Michigan Michigan (mĭsh`ĭgən), upper midwestern state of the United States. It consists of two peninsulas thrusting into the Great Lakes and has borders with Ohio and Indiana (S), Wisconsin (W), and the Canadian province of Ontario (N,E). for Affordable Pharmaceuticals (MAP), a voluntary organization comprised of employers, unions, healthcare providers and health-care plans supporting specific reform initiatives designed to contain pharmaceutical costs while ensuring access and quality.
MAP reports that outpatient outpatient /out·pa·tient/ (-pa-shent) a patient who comes to the hospital, clinic, or dispensary for diagnosis and/or treatment but does not occupy a bed.
n. retail prescription drug expenditures in 2001 were up 17.1 percent to $154.5 billion and mail order prescription drug expenditures were up 27 percent to $20.7 billion when compared with the prior year. This marks the fourth consecutive year that spending on outpatient prescription drugs topped 17 percent. In Michigan, retail prescription drug expenditures rose 12 percent or $541 million from 1999 to 2000.
"While the increase in Michigan was less than the national average, residents are critically affected because, compared to the rest of the country, we use more prescriptions per resident and spend more than twice as much on prescription drugs," MAP notes
The Chamber and MAP are targeting two critical components of this issue--generic drugs and direct-to-consumer advertising direct-to-consumer advertising Drug industry The use of mass media–eg, TV, magazines, newspapers, to publicly promote drugs, medical devices or other products which, by law, require a prescription, which targets consumers, with the intent of having a Pt guidelines guidelines,
n.pl a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks. .
Generic drugs--The Chamber partnered with Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Shield A US not-for-profit health care insurer that is a reimbursement intermediary for physicians. Cf Blue Cross. of Michigan in a campaign to promote the use of generic equivalents when possible. The initial campaign resulted in a slight increase in the use of generic drugs generic drug, a drug sold or prescribed under the nonproprietary name of its active ingredients or under a generally descriptive name rather than under a brand or trade name. among Chamber-member firms from the fourth quarter of 2000 to the fourth quarter 2001. The estimated savings totaled $45,000. While this may seem insignificant, it does demonstrate the savings potential. The Chamber will continue to promote the use of generic drugs whenever possible.
Advertising guidelines--As the volume of direct-to-consumer advertising continues to increase at unprecedented rates, MAP believes such promotions raise consumer safety issues, including inappropriate demand for, and use of, advertised drugs.
A report issued by the National Institute for Health Care Management Research and Education Foundation found that sales of the 50 drugs most heavily advertised to consumers in 2000 increased an aggregate 32 percent from 1999 to 2000, compared to 13.6 percent for all other prescription drugs.
The Chamber believes a balanced approach is needed to ensure that consumers have the information needed to make informed choices about advertised drugs. Therefore, as ads for prescription drugs continue to saturate sat·u·rate
v. Abbr. sat.
1. To imbue or impregnate thoroughly.
2. To soak, fill, or load to capacity.
3. To cause a substance to unite with the greatest possible amount of another substance. the airwaves airwaves
Informal radio waves used in radio and television broadcasting , MAP asserts that new guidance for pharmaceutical manufacturers on such advertising is needed. Additional guidelines should include criteria to ensure that such advertising clearly communicates to consumers the benefits and risks related to the advertised drug as well as notification that a generic equivalent may be available.
By increasing consumer awareness of the availability of generic drugs and stipulating that direct-to-consumer advertising contains appropriate information, all Michigan payers--public and private--will be able to better afford prescription medications.
Chamber health-care survey As part of its campaign to reduce health-care costs for employers, the Detroit Regional Chamber surveyed its members earlier this year to determine how spiraling costs are affecting their business and their employees. Here are some of the findings: What actions have you taken to compensate for rising costs? Changed plans 39.9% Reduced benefits 32.8% Increased co-pay 32.0% Changed carriers 18.8% Canceled other benefits 10.3% Dropped coverage 3.8% Other 3.5% How has the rise in health-care costs affected your business? Paid lower wages or limited wage increases 45.2% Provided fewer benefits 36.4% Hired fewer full-time employees 33.4% Less competitive because of cost 29.3% Increased price of goods or services sold 24.6% Borrowed more because of reduced cash flow 14.4% Other 13.2% How have rising health-care costs affected your employees? Lower morale/satisfaction 35.2% Reduced coverage for family and dependents 32.0% Increased financial hardship 32.0% Decreased productivity 5.9% Other 19.6% Source: Detroit Regional Chamber. Survey was conducted March 7, 2002, with 347 respondents.
For more information on the Chamber's health-care initiatives, contact Sebastian Wade, director of public policy, at (313) 596-0399 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.