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Automation concept collage Integrated benefits can result in even more savings for those with chronic conditions, including $926 in per-member-per-year for patients with asthma. (Photo: Shutterstock)

For employers looking to take more control of their health care spend, prescription drugs are often a key area of focus. While pharmacy benefits managers have traditionally played gatekeeper between drug manufacturers and employers, more self-insured employers in recent years have been bypassing the middleman to either contract directly with manufacturers or work with their medical provider to take control of these costs.

A recent study provides another incentive for employers to consider an integrated, carve-in pharmacy and medical benefits model: it can lower overall medical spending and lead to fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

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