March 6, 2018
UnitedHealthcare Launches Expansion of Direct-to-Consumer Pharmacy Discounts to Millions of Americans
- Approach will lower out-of-pocket costs for eligible plan participants when filling a prescription
- Program to help make prescriptions more affordable at the point of sale and improve the health care experience
UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, will expand pharmacy discounts to millions of its plan participants when they fill prescriptions through retail pharmacies or home delivery. The new program will apply to over 7 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare fully insured commercial group benefit plans, lowering out-of-pocket costs by directly providing consumers with savings from pharmacy manufacturer rebates at the time of purchase.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, and on plan renewal thereafter, people enrolled in fully insured group health benefit plans will have discounts applied to their medication cost at the point of sale. The savings will apply to plan participants who are filling a prescription for a drug where the manufacturer provides a rebate. UnitedHealthcare will apply savings from rebates upfront, at the time of sale, to ensure people are paying the lowest amount possible under their plan. Rebates are currently used to keep premiums lower for the benefit of all members and customers, rather than distributed to individual consumers.
Before going to the pharmacy or placing an order for home delivery, plan participants can log in to myuhc.com or use the UHC mobile app to see the discounted cost of their drug, which will include the savings from the rebate.
The move is part of UnitedHealth Group’s broader effort to simplify pharmacy benefits, deliver savings directly to its customers and improve their health care experience. Expanding access to discounts builds on a history of introducing innovative approaches, products and services that are designed to improve personal health and enable consumers to directly benefit from the full value of their pharmacy benefits.
“UnitedHealthcare is uniquely positioned to deliver new value and clarity to health care, and pharmacy benefits in particular,” said Dan Schumacher, president and chief operating officer, UnitedHealthcare. “Our differentiated pharmacy model, powered by OptumRx, is delivering solutions that lead to better health outcomes and make prescription drugs more affordable.”
Providing direct savings from rebates is the latest step in UnitedHealthcare and OptumRx’s combined efforts to deliver better costs and a better experience. For example, the recently launched PreCheck MyScript tool enables doctors to see how much their patients would have to pay for a medication if they went to their preferred pharmacy at that very moment to pick it up. The system enables doctors to provide their patients with lower-cost alternatives for higher-cost medications in order to save patients money.
“People use their pharmacy benefit more frequently than any other type of benefit, which means pharmacy provides the greatest opportunity for us to understand and meet their needs,” said Schumacher. “We believe our efforts to enhance value for our customers will not only benefit our members, but the health care system as a whole.”
In addition to expanding discounts to all fully insured group plan participants, UnitedHealthcare currently supports self-insured customers who choose to implement similar expanded discounts for their employees. OptumRx's stand-alone point of sale solution is also currently available to clients who do not receive their pharmacy benefits through UnitedHealthcare.
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