It’s pretty safe to say that 2020 has been a unique and unexpected year for most companies and most people. Some of the predicted healthcare trends for 2020 played out as expected and other trends emerged in response to a global pandemic. Here’s our take on some of the biggest trends for 2020 and what we expect from these areas as we look ahead to 2021.

Telemedicine usage rates

When the coronavirus pandemic began earlier this year, it prompted some substantial changes in healthcare overall. While telemedicine existed previously, including video consults with both doctors and pharmacists, the usage rates increased dramatically this year. Healthcare providers and patients navigated the new processes together for routine appointments and acute issues that didn’t require being seen in person. Overall, we expect this trend to stick around, as it saves time for both the patient and the provider and lowers exposure risk for many patients.

Specialty medication use and costs

Specialty medications account for only 1-2% of total medications prescribed but around 50% of total cost. The total cost of specialty drugs has been on the rise for several years, and we don’t expect that to change anytime soon. In some cases, lower-cost medications are available, but not always. When it comes to controlling the cost for employers, it’s important to look at manufacturer assistance programs as well as programs that help ensure the medication is being taken as directed for full therapeutic benefit.

Role of big data in healthcare

Big data is a big trend in most industries right now, and it’s certainly the case in healthcare. Data matters to hospitals, insurance providers, prescription benefits managers, and self-insured companies. If companies are only looking at their healthcare data on the surface level, they’re likely missing out on opportunities to understand their healthcare costs and make strategic changes to lower those costs.

Employers taking control of healthcare costs

Taking control of healthcare costs continues to be a hot topic among business owners and executives. The statistics on percentage of employers using a self-insured plan have varied a bit in recent years depending on size of employer , but the overall quest to take control of healthcare costs continues. For many employers, shifting to a self-insured model is a key strategy to help them achieve that goal.

If your company is exploring ways to reduce healthcare spending or better understand your healthcare costs overall, reach out to the MaxCare team to see how we can help with your prescription benefits plan.