The cost of employer sponsored health insurance continues to increase, and one of the hidden facts that is contributing to rising Insurance costs are employees and dependents that don’t take their prescription medications.  This is also a problem for Medicare recipients and people with individual insurance policies. Often time’s people think that by not taking their medications they are saving money, however,  the long term effects prove just the opposite.

According to the former U.S. Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, drugs don’t work in patients who don’t take them.  Up to thirty percent of prescriptions are never filled, and half of all people do not take the medications as instructed, according to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

This lack of adherence results in an estimated 125,000 deaths and more than $100 billion in cost to the U.S. health care system annually.  People who take their medications correctly tend to have lower health care costs, avoiding unnecessary treatments and hospitalization, and have better health outcomes.

According to the National Medication Adherence Report Card survey, there are many reasons that patients have difficulty taking their medications correctly.  This includes high cost, confusion over how to take the medications, side effects and not understanding why the medication is needed.

The survey also found that a patient’s personal connection with a pharmacist or pharmacy staff member if the top predictor of medication adherence.  Your pharmacist can help you improve your health and quality of life through better medication use.  Your pharmacist can work with you doctor to develop a simple and convenient medication schedule that fits your lifestyle.  He or she can help find lower cost medications and assist programs.  Use pill organizers to help you stay on track, and you can coordinate with the pharmacy so that you can pick up all of your medications on the same day.

Understanding why and how to take your medication, and what kind of results to expect will help set the stage for success.