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U.S. Specialty Pharmacy Cost Increases Expected to Jump to 23%
Aon Survey Shows Double-Digit Pharmacy Cost Increases; Stable Medical Trend


LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (August 27, 2015) – A new survey of 60 leading health care vendors by Aon plc (NYSE: AON) shows that pharmacy trends are expected to continue in the double digits, with specialty pharmacy trends experiencing the most significant increases. The survey represents expected cost increases before plan or benefit changes for medical and pharmacy policies that carriers are renewing in 2015.  

Pharmacy cost trends, including specialty drugs, are expected to increase 10 percent, up from 6.3 percent in the prior year. When separating out specialty pharmacy drugs, estimated cost trends have jumped to a whopping 22.7 percent in 2015, up from an18.2 percent increase in 2014.

“There is a robust pipeline of specialty drugs, which is contributing to the dramatic spike we see in cost trend,” said John Malley, leader of Aon Health’s Innovation Pharmacy Team. “Oncology drugs have been filling the pipeline and will be the largest category of specialty drug approvals in the near future. Specialty drugs for cholesterol may also have a significant impact, given that the market has not had this type of drug for such a prevalent disease state before.”

Medical trend expectations moderate

While pharmacy rate increases continue to rise significantly, carriers are expecting moderate medical cost increases. Trends used by vendors for projecting year-over-year increases in medical plan costs range from 7.0 percent to 7.6 percent in 2015, compared to 7.7 percent to 9.0 percent in 2014. 

“Carriers continue to see price inflation as the single largest driver of increased medical costs, but an aging population, unhealthy lifestyle choices and provider consolidation are also contributing to the trend increase,’ said Tim Nimmer, global chief actuary for Aon Health. “As a result, employers are still gravitating toward managing year-to-year cost increases while keeping an eye on the near future to understand what new tools may be applicable to their specific workforces as a means to reduce health care spend.”


About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global provider of risk management, insurance brokerage and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and outsourcing services. Through its more than 69,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative risk and people solutions. For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit:

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