New research: Insurers protecting Americans from rising drug costs

Published March 16, 2023

Prescription drug prices are rising. Over the last decade, drug spending in the U.S. increased 60% — preventing nearly 1 in 3 Americans from taking their prescriptions as recommended. Now, new research shows that private insurance is protecting Americans from these price hikes.

Read the Oliver Wyman Report

The analysis, conducted by Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting, found that from 2014 to 2019, drug prices increased by 14%. But for most Americans with private insurance, their out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions declined. And among the top 5% of members with the highest prescription and specialty drug costs, out-of-pocket costs were, on average, less than 10% of total costs and that percentage share also declined from 2014 to 2019. This shows that health insurers are protecting patients from rising costs rather than passing the price hikes onto their members.

In addition to protecting members from these price hikes, Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies are working with Congress and the current administration to save nearly $180 billion in prescription drug spending over the next decade. These policy recommendations are part of BCBSA’s comprehensive set of proposals—Affordability Solutions for the Health of America—to reduce health care costs by $767 billion over 10 years.

More immediately, BCBS companies are bringing lower-cost generic drugs, biosimilars and medical benefit drugs to market, increasing competition and enhancing transparency.  They are partnering with Civica to manufacture, produce and distribute generic medicines, including insulin at no more than $30 per vial, saving Americans hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Additionally, nearly every BCBS company founded Synergie Medication Collective to lower patient costs for medical benefit drugs like gene therapies and chemotherapies.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independently owned and operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. Read more about how BCBS companies are promoting sustainably affordable health care.