Copayment rates outpace inflation

Workers are definitely paying more for health benefits today than they were in 2000, according to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute titled “The Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Have Employers Reached a Tipping Point?”

Nowhere is that more evident than in a review of prescription drug copayments, which have been ?out- pacing inflation at a fast clip. The Consumer Price Index between 2000 and 2006 increased by 17 percent. During that period, the average copayment for branded drugs on the formulary increased 85 percent, from $13 to $24. The average copayment for nonpreferred branded drugs increased a hefty 124 percent. And it’s not just brand name drugs experiencing the mark up — the average copayment for generic drugs also increased faster than inflation, up 57 percent between 2000 and 2006. What has dropped during this time, despite the sharp increase in copayment levels, is the percentage of consumer health care expenses paid out of pocket, which is at an all time low.

Average copayment for prescription drugs, 2000–2006

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation


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