Health plans that switch to a "Zero-Dollar Copay" system can reduce their prescription drug costs significantly by encouraging greater use of generic pharmaceuticals, researchers at Express Scripts said. A new study released by the pharmacy benefit management firm concluded that temporarily waiving patient copay requirements for lower-cost generic versions will save money for both the insurer and the patient.
From the patient's perspective, waiving the copay for a 4-to 6-month period would yield out-of-pocket savings averaging about $50 per patient, Express Scripts said. Adding in the savings that would accrue to plan sponsors, the researchers estimate that the nation's total drug bill could drop by as much as $22 billion annually by maximizing generic usage.
Although those savings are predicated on patient response to the zero-dollar-copay incentives, Julayna Meyer, the company's vice president of research and trend management, says patients are likely to jump on board. "Today's health care consumers understand the importance of making a smart choice with regard to prescription drugs and respond well to the incentive that has been made available through this program," she said.
In Seniors: Consider CMV Serostatus
When Recommending Flu Vaccine
Older people who have cytomegalovirus seem to have less robust responses to the trivalent influenza vaccine than those who do not have CMV.
News from the year's biggest meetings
Clinical features with downloadable PDFs