Medication adherence programs save insurers money

Programs that aim to improve medication adherence are worth consideration by insurers, as long as intervention costs do not exceed the estimated healthcare cost savings, according to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs.

In a three-year evaluation, the study found that people enrolled in a value-based insurance design program significantly improved their adherence to medication regimens. The study also found that patients who adhere to their medications have much lower overall medical costs during the year, even when the additional expense of the drugs is included. Savings ranged from $1,258 to $7,823 per patient per year, according to the New York Times.

The findings are based on an analysis of 135,000 patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. The study found that people who took their meds made fewer visits to the emergency room and spent fewer days in the hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports.

To ensure how best to encourage people to take their medicine, Dr. Troyen Brennan, one of the study's authors, told the New York Times that "a lot of this is simple blocking and tackling," including making sure people get their medicines on time and providing them counseling on the importance of taking their drugs.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times article
- see the Los Angeles Times story
- read the Health Affairs study (reg. req.)

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