When caregivers from 19 HCA-affiliated hospitals in Florida negotiated their union contract, they gained a unique opportunity to engage in annual discussions with their employer, the Hospital Corporation of America. The conversations involved not only Florida union members, but healthcare workers from other states--including Nevada, Texas and Missouri--that have contracts with HCA hospitals.
After several months of discussions, the group, called the Health Benefits Joint Committee, came to agreement about how to reduce costs that would save money for the largest group of employees.
“We decided to tackle prescription drug costs this year because it was cost neutral for all parties involved,” said Joe Bunnicelli, a University Hospital delegate and a committee member who represented Florida members at the national table. “Also, cost savings for prescription drugs would impact the most employees at this time.”
The committee developed a prescription drug savings plan, which will go into effect January 1, 2013, with the following changes:
• Co-payments for maintenance medications were reduced by 50 percent. The medications are now accessed in 90-day supplies through mail-order.
• Lower co-payments and no more deductibles and for retail brand name drugs when no generic option is available.
• For some medications, first trying an established, lower-cost, clinically effective medication before the more costly brand name medications.
“I am an insulin-dependent diabetic and the insulin I require doesn’t come as generic,” said Pat Putman a Laboratory Tech at St. Petersburg General Hospital. “I spend about $80 a month but now with the cap of $25, this is a lot of savings every month for the rest of my life that I’m insured. This new prescription drug plan is fantastic”