For self-insured consumers looking for a better health care plan experience, the options may be limited, but there are options on the table. "In health insurance there really isn't any 'deal cutting,'" says Gavin Prout, a vice president at Toronto-based Special Benefits Insurance Services. "Just know that its premiums that really drive up health care costs."
Keeping an eye on premiums linked to health care plans when you're choosing one is "step one" in any health care insurance due diligence campaign, Prout says.
Putting a lid on prescription drug costs can also cut health care costs for self-insured consumers. "We see 21% of Americans paying 5% of their income on out-of-pocket health care costs," says Doug Hirsch, CEO at GoodRx, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based prescription drug services provider.
Plus, with more and more pharmacy benefit managers cutting previously covered drugs, the amount Americans spend on medication and out-of-pocket costs could increase.
"Most Americans don't realize that prescription prices vary greatly from pharmacy to pharmacy, even within the same neighborhood," says Hirsch. With a company like GoodRx, users enter their prescription and zip code and within seconds are provided with the local pharmacy with lowest price available.
"For example, 30 20mg tablets of generic Lipitor can range from around $10 at Walmart to $76 at Rite-Aid," Hirsch adds.