Report finds PPACA enrollees are healthier, spend less on drugs

This year's enrollees in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act spend less on drugs and are healthier than last year's enrollees, according to an Express Scripts report cited in The Hill.

The number of new enrollees who used at least one prescription medication decreased by 18 percent in the first quarter of 2015, and costs were 36 percent lower per member per month compared to the first quarter of 2014.

But PPACA exchange costs were 16 percent higher per member per month compared to non-PPACA plans, primarily due to higher spending on costly drugs for complex conditions.

"While it is encouraging to see data that suggests healthier Americans are enrolling in exchange plans, the research reminds us that many of these patients use this benefit to manage serious, chronic illnesses," said Julie Huppert, vice president of healthcare reform at Express Scripts.

Spending on specialty drugs grew faster on PPACA plans. For these high-cost medications, spending grew 24 percent for PPACA plans compared to 8 percent growth for non-PPACA plans. In addition, spending on Hepatitis C drugs on PPACA plans increased 96 percent from the beginning of last year.

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