Drug manufacturer rebate audit: Are you owed money?

There is one kind of audit a health plan actually wants: A drug manufacturer rebate audit. 

What is a drug manufacturer rebate audit? 

A drug manufacturer rebate audit is an in-depth look at a health plan’s rebate agreement previously put in place by drug manufacturers and a pharmacy benefit manager. The idea behind a rebate audit is to ensure that a health plan is recouping the most money possible through its drug benefit.  

Why should health plans seek rebates from drug companies? 

Brand-name prescription drugs are expensive, especially for medications that treat many serious, yet common medical conditions. Rebates are often the deciding factor when a health plan chooses to cover a drug and how much of the cost should be covered by a patient. 

Medicare Part D members, for example, are likely to pay anywhere between $12.40 and $77.40 and higher for prescription drug coverage, according to Medicare.gov, and that doesn’t include the required copay when you get to the pharmacy counter, which runs anywhere from $5 for generic drugs and $25 to $40 for name brand prescription medications. There are many reasons a health insurer may choose to cover or not cover a name brand prescription drug, but manufacturer rebates are a big one. 

How does a drug manufacturer rebate audit work? 

A drug manufacturer rebate audit analyzes the rebate agreements that exist between a health plan and drug manufacturers – typically the top five to ten manufacturers that contract with the PBM. The top is selected based on dollar value of the rebates on the drugs, often the top 50% to 75% of all rebates invoiced. 

Very few health plans conduct drug rebate audits. But as the possibility of more money to recoup grows, audits are likely to increase as well. Plans often are not receiving the level of rebates they are entitled to due to formulary exclusivity provisions in the contract. Or, competitor drugs on the formulary have limited PBM rebates. At the same time, incorrect goals and invoicing can result in wrong or limited rebate payments to the health plan. 

A drug manufacturer rebate audit can identify all of those problems and more. Many audits are conducted annually; sooner if there have been recent changes to PBM payments or the plan. Most Medicare Advantage plans report directly and indirectly to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS expects rebate oversight if it conducts its own audit.

How do health insurers choose an drug manufacturer rebate auditor? 

An independent auditor must have lengthy experience in drug manufacturer rebate audits. The process is complicated at best. It’s also wise to have a consultant there to guide you through the process, which can take months. A team of experts assisting can help ensure you get the rebates the health plan is entitled to receive.

Tier 1 Pharmacy Consulting can help 

The team at Tier 1 Pharmacy Consulting works closely with health plans on every single aspect of their prescription drug benefits. Health plans are always looking to do more — but sometimes the resources just are not there. Let Tier 1 assist you with opportunities that might be limited by time and resources – including the chance of recouping drug manufacturer rebates. 

We want the same thing as our clients and their members: high quality prescription drug options at the lowest possible cost. We are sensitive to the need for lower prescription drug costs. At the same time, we believe it’s important to increase the value that the plan provides, and look for savings and rebates whenever possible. 

About Tier 1 

Tier 1 Pharmacy Consulting is a Denver, Colorado-based pharmacy benefit consulting firm offering customized services to healthcare plans that offer prescription drug benefits. Whether your health plan is big or small, Tier 1 offers strategic, cost-saving solutions that boost the plan’s overall value and help its members by providing high quality care.

Tier 1’s founder is a clinical pharmacist with more than a decade of experience in pharmacy benefit management. We are passionate about collaborating and developing effective strategies to improve health plan outcomes.

Tier 1 offers health plans a new perspective on how to manage their pharmacy benefit. Our team is made up of experts who strive to make effective plans even stronger and fill in any gaps due to a lack of time or resources.

Drop us a note at info@tieronepc.com. Let’s get connected.

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