New exchange plan enrollees spent less on medications in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same time last year, according to the third edition of the Express Scripts Exchange Pulse report, which was released Wednesday of this week.
In comparison to the first quarter of 2014, the number of new exchange plan enrollees who used a minimum of one prescription medication dropped 18 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
When evaluating exchange plan medication trends between March 31, 2014 and March 31, 2015, research showed spending on high-cost specialty medications grew 24 percent -- compared to eight percent growth in traditional health plans. The increase is principally credited to hepatitis C medications.
“While it is encouraging to see data that suggests healthier Americans are enrolling in exchange plans, the research reminds us that many of these patients use this benefit to manage serious, chronic illnesses," Julie Huppert, vice president, healthcare reform at Express Scripts, said. "Exchange plans have an opportunity to make medications more affordable and accessible by more closely managing the benefit, encouraging the use of home delivery pharmacy and other proven clinical pharmacy programs, which can help boost medication adherence and foster better disease management."
The analysis examined medication trends from January 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015, comparing trends in the first quarter of 2015 to those seen in first quarter of 2014.