7 ways health plans are containing weight loss drug costs

Around 6 in 10 health plans have provider education in place to promote alternative options to costly GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy for obesity and diabetes treatment, according to a survey from diabetes management provider Virta Health. 

In a survey of 80 health plan leaders published Aug. 1, all of the leaders responded they were concerned about the rising costs and utilization of GLP-1 drugs. 

More payers are dropping coverage for the drugs or implementing stricter utilization policies, according to a previous survey from Found. 

Here are seven strategies health plan leaders said their organizations use to contain GLP-1 drug costs: 

  1. Provider education on therapeutic alternatives to GLP-1 drugs (59 percent) 
  2. Targeted member communication to increase awareness of alternatives to the drugs (54 percent) 
  3. Providing food as medicine programs and benefits (51 percent) 
  4. Combination therapy, like adding a lifestyle program to GLP-1 drugs (43 percent) 
  5. Step therapy prior authorization, requiring patients to try other options before being prescribed weight loss drugs (41 percent) 
  6. Changing plan design to encourage alternative treatments (40 percent) 
  7. Offering incentives like premium discounts and financial rewards to promote alternative treatments to GLP-1 drugs (39 percent) 

See the full survey here. 

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