Most people like to save money when it doesn’t feel like there is any diminution of value. So when a manufacturer of a name brand offers coupons for a discount for merchandise you are already buying, you are happy to take advantage of the lower price. You might also be willing to wait until the product goes on sale such as bedding in January….
When you go to the pharmacy, it’s a different story. If your pharmacist offers you a coupon to stay on a name brand drug, you are inflicting damage on the long term sustainability of your benefit plan! Why? The coupon means that your co-pay or out of pocket is the same for the brand name drug or the generic/ lower cost alternative. The pharmacist explains there is no difference to you. That is accurate. But your drug plan is paying for the higher priced version of the therapy. This is included in the claims experience of your plan. Claims drive premiums and ultimately impact the cost and benefits of the plan your employer offers.
Talk with your doctor and your pharmacist and ask about the differences in therapies to keep your benefit plan sustainable for the long run. Because in the long run, we all share the burden of expenses one way or another. With as many as 75 biologic drugs coming to market in the next few years, we all need to be aware of costs without sacrificing patient outcomes.
Reference: Kaiser Health News, October 1, 2012