We’re still not exactly sure how all the national health care changes will shake out at the local level but we’re figuring that the cost pressures are not likely to magically disappear anytime soon so we’re still out there scouting for ways to save dollars wherever we can. The City is self insured and as we’ve made strides over the last couple of years to put more emphasis on wellness and staying healthy we’ve seen our costs proportionally decline but all it takes is one or two serious medical problems in a year to wipe out those incremental savings.
When you drill down into the numbers it turns out that one of the City’s largest cost components is pharmaceuticals. Anyone that’s filled a prescription recently knows that drugs are expensive, and while that’s not a surprise, it’s a tough nut to crack. We’ve had some good success converting routine prescriptions to the mail-order approach and not only has that saved money it is also very convenient — so it’s a win, win.
Although it’s a pricey market, the prescription drug market is also fairly competitive and we’ve tried to leverage that into deeper discounts. In June, the City’s Human Resource Manager reported that she completed another round of price negotiations with our pharmacy provider and we actually came out ahead. Under the new pricing and formulary reimbursements the City should save approximately $70,000 in pharmacy costs over the next 12 months. The Health Plan coverage remains the same but the prices for the drugs have been reduced.
Finally, some good news on the health front.