UnitedHealth, the American healthcare and insurance company recently announced that it will be changing the way it handles rebates it received from drug makers and its employer-sponsored plans will pass the discounts to consumers at the drug store counter.
Reportedly the discount program is a development on an announcement the company made a year ago to declare that it will serve nearly 9 million consumers this year. The company added that the existing members, if they choose to, can adopt this plan during contract renewal.
Dan Schumacher, President, UnitedHealthcare has been reported to say in a press release that UnitedHealthcare plans to aggressively drive to help lower costs, deliver better health and provide a better experience to patients and the groundbreaking point-of-sale discount is just one element of UnitedHealthcare’s endeavor to provide concrete benefits to patients.
UnitedHealth claims that on an average at least $130 per prescription has been saved by consumers through its rebate program.
A proposal for scraping the rebate system for Medicare plans has been made by the Trump administration but the proposal did not go as far as to extend the plan to commercial plans. Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are paid rebates by drug manufacturers to get their drugs covered by the Part D prescription plan of Medicare.
Recently, Senator Mike Braun introduced the Drug Price Transparency Act that aims to ban rebates for commercial plans.
Forbes reports that UnitedHealth’s rivals are also changing business tactics. For instance, in 2018 health insurer Aetna and CVS Health, owner of Caremark PBM, launched a pricing model that claimed that it would be returning cent percent of the drug rebates to its clients to enhance predictability and pricing simplicity. Others like Express Scripts, a Cigna subsidiary, introduced point-of-sale rebate programs for clients.
Insurers have claimed that in 2019 adoption of such plans has been slow but there has been an increased pressure to abandon rebates on investors during the 2020 contracts.