There aren't many things that are as important to an employer – no matter the size of the company – as being able to offer competitive, affordable health benefits. Today's labor market is competitive, and if a business isn't able to do its part by ensuring their employees and their families have access to high-quality healthcare coverage that doesn't break the bank, you can expect us to lose out on top talent.  

At Global K9 Protection Group, headquartered in Opelika, we are proud to offer incredible benefits to our employees and their families. We want our employees to be healthy, and we know having quality coverage is essential to maintaining the health and well-being of our workforce. One of the most widely used components of any health coverage is the prescription drug benefit.

According to the Health Policy Institute, more than 131 million Americans – 66 percent of adults in the country – use prescription drugs.

Knowing the importance of ensuring access to affordable prescription medications, I was particularly relieved and thankful to see that Congress did not include harmful provisions in the recently passed spending package that would have raised healthcare costs for hardworking Alabamans, employers, consumers, families and patients.

In navigating the complex world of health care coverage, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are instrumental partners for employers, specifically in the realm of designing our employees' prescription drug benefits. PBMs provide health plan sponsors with much needed flexibility and a wide range of options for us to choose what benefits work for our needs as a company and for the employees we offer coverage to. Unfortunately, some lawmakers want to undermine PBMs and their ability to help employers secure savings and offer more affordable coverage to our employees.

When I'm designing our company's benefits package, I need to be shown all the options I have for my prescription benefits so I can make an informed decision that will best fit the needs of my employees. From seeing the formulary from my PBM to choosing how my pharmacy benefit company is paid, I get to see the information I need to decide what works best for us.

Retaining control over these decisions allows me to get the best value for my employees, helping them save money and have access to better benefits. For example, when our PBM secures rebates, the savings and refunds from our rebates are returned into a pool for benefits so we can adjust our plans accordingly. We use our rebate savings to lower cost-sharing and offer wellness programs – benefits that allow us to stay competitive in the job market.

This is common across the board. According to a survey of more than 700 employers, 90 percent of employers who receive PBM-secured rebates use those rebates to enhance employee benefits.

As it stands now, health plan sponsors like me get to choose if we want 100 percent of our rebates passed back to us or if we choose another model. Choices in the marketplace are essential for business owners and anyone else offering coverage. We do not need Congress dictating our choices for us.

For example, recent proposals to ban performance-based incentives for PBMs to secure these rebates would have drastically increased healthcare premiums for those in the commercial health insurance market, which is employer-provided insurance, by $26.6 billion annually. As business owners, we cannot afford these added costs, and our employees can't either. To throw salt in the wound, while hardworking Americans would see increased costs, big drug companies would see increased drug profits of nearly $22 billion.

Congress certainly made the right decision in March not to include these kinds of policies that target our pharmacy benefits in the latest spending package, but we have to remain vigilant to protect our ability to offer competitive prescription benefits for our employees. Lawmakers who want Americans to have access to affordable, quality prescription benefits need to stand strong against those who continue to push for misguided proposals that will only hike healthcare costs and constrain employers.

Eric Hare is CEO of Global K9 Protection Group in Opelika.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to

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