March 20, 2018
Patients Overpaying for Prescriptions -- 23% of the Time

While it's fairly common knowledge that it can be less expensive to pay cash for prescription drugs than to pay the insurance copayment, a landmark study from the University of Southern California released last Tuesday revealed that customers overpaid for their prescriptions a whopping 23% of the time.

Prescription drug overpayments ("clawbacks") occur when commercially insured patients' copayments exceed the total cost of the drug to their insurer or pharmacy benefit manager (PBM).

"Clawbacks are an example of why we must set forth transparency expectations for PBMs," says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "Through our Specialty Drug Guiding Coalition, everyone in the supply chain is collaborating to ensure transparency on behalf of employers and consumers."
Health Care Lessons for the Nation from Planet Minnesota

The Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase announcement about plans to create an independent company to rein in health care costs has been met with great optimism, interest and enthusiasm.

In this new blog, Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO, discusses the role Minnesota's courageous and visionary corporate leaders have played in developing groundbreaking health care solutions that pave the way for next generation experimentation.

"ALL of us have the capacity to influence positive change through vision, political will, leadership, and tenacity," says Carolyn. "As the new employer group moves forward to reduce cost and improve value in health care, I hope they can use a few lessons we have learned during our journey here in Minnesota."
April Member Meeting: ACOs: Accelerating Value!

Health care costs crossword puzzle, Health insurance concept. 3D illustration isolated on white background. 
Do you want to increase health care efficiency, improve outcomes, and lower costs? If so, please join us for the April 24, 2018, member meeting from 8 a.m.-10 a.m., at the Hilton Airport/MOA to learn how you can use Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to accelerate value for your organization.
Click here to view the full meeting description, or here if you're new to ACOs and want to learn the basics.

If you are actively considering membership and would like to learn more and network with members, please contact Sue Jesseman ( for a complimentary meeting pass. 
Early Bird Rate Ends Soon! Employer Leadership Summit

"Our opportunity to improve -- our purpose -- lies in our ability to put the member/patient first. Always."
Mary Ellen Anderson, President, CCStpa

If you are ready to tap into courageous thinking, compassionate leadership, and curiosity to breathe fresh energy into your purpose, join us at this year's Annual Employer Leadership Summit: "A NEW LENS: Purpose-Driven Solutions for Optimal Health." 
We'll tackle the tough issues of our times, like the opioid epidemic and the devastating impact of obesity, and focus on breakthrough innovations and demonstrated results that you can put to work right away.

This event typically sells out, so register today to save your spot -- and $100 (early bird rate ends March 30)!   

Plan Your Summit Sponsor Visits! 
Many thanks to our sponsors for making this event not only possible, but an annual success!


NQF Playbooks on Opioid Crisis, Shared Decision Making

The National Quality Forum (NQF) just released two important playbooks to help providers and health plans address issues of great importance to The Action Group. One focuses on turning the tide on the nation's devastating opioid epidemic; the other aims to make shared decision making a reality for all patients.

"As an NQF Board member, I'm pleased to promote these outstanding new resources," says Carolyn Pare, Action Group president and CEO. "We'll use the playbooks to inform content for the Employer Leadership Summit, and to help our health plan and provider colleagues make inroads that lead to reversing the opioid epidemic and enhancing shared decision making."   
Exclusive Member Opportunity with POPS! Diabetes Care

Because of our commitment to advancing innovations that improve health, health care value, and accessibility while reducing costs, POPS! Diabetes Care -- winner of last year's Action Group Summit Innovation Award -- invites members to apply to participate on its inaugural Customer Advisory Board.

Click here for more information or to apply.
(Applications must be received by March 30, 2018.)
Be an Ally in Ending Colorectal Cancer in our Lifetime

To drive a measurable increase in screenings and reduce deaths due to colorectal cancer, the American Cancer Society (ACS) introduced the "80% by 2018" initiative, designed to raise colorectal cancer screenings to 80% by 2018.

"Employers are uniquely positioned to break down barriers to screenings by reminding employees this preventive care is a covered benefit," says Deb Krause, Action Group vice president and chair of the ACS's Minnesota/Dakota Leadership Board.

Click here for free promotional tools and resources, or here to see Deb's new blog that includes helpful insights and additional support. 
Professional Development Opps! 
The Action Group makes it easy for benefits professionals to stay on top of the hottest trends! Member meetings feature topics selected by our members, and public meetings and events present great professional development opportunities.  
Member Meetings:

Meetings begin with networking at 8 a.m., and conclude at 10 a.m. All are held at the Hilton Airport/MOA, 3800 American Boulevard East, Bloomington.  
  • April 24, 2018: ACOs: Accelerating Value!
  • Future member meetings: June 21, 2018, August 14, 2018, September 18, 2018, December 11, 2018

Employer Benefits Survey Results Meeting (For Survey participants only):


Those who participated in this year's Annual Employer Benefits Survey will have an unparalleled and exclusive opportunity to come together to compare notes with other employers, and discuss pathways to offering effective and attractive health benefits. The meeting will be MARCH 29, 2018, from 8 a.m.-11 a.m., at the Hilton Airport/MOA.


Public Meetings and Events:    
The pace of work at the State Capitol began to quicken last week as the first committee deadline of March 22, 2018, looms. Any bills not heard in the House or Senate by this Thursday are dead for the remainder of the session, so late committee nights are guaranteed.

Pharmaceutical issues continue to be a priority for a number of legislators, and none are receiving more attention than the "penny a pill" proposal. The bill, SF730/HF1440, originally imposed a fee on opioid manufacturers based on a drug's clinical dosage size in order to pay for enhanced treatment and prevention needs. Late last week, the House proposal was amended to remove the manufacturer fee as the funding mechanism and replace it with a direct appropriation from the state's general fund. PhRMA has been actively lobbying on this issue, and a growing sense had been that the original stewardship fee proposal would not have made it through the House. That being said, the Senate feels very strongly that manufacturers must be held accountable for their role in the opioid crisis and their proposal retains the fee. Over the next several weeks, it will be interesting to see how these approaches clash and which final proposal (if any) makes its way to Governor Dayton's desk. Of interest:

A number of other pharmaceutical bills have been introduced this year. We will update you on which ones met the deadline requirements and remain viable.  

"Know the five 'be's' of leadership: BE purposeful; BE clear about your role; BE clear about who you're serving; BE values-driven; BE Authentic."
Hubert Joly, CEO, Best Buy
( Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, March 19, 2018)