Origin of the Prescription Discount Card?
Continuing Series: Questions from Consumers …
The prescription discount card has been around for more than 20 years, and has grown in popularity since the economy sharply declined in 2005. It offers consumers a convenient way to save on their out-of-pocket prescription costs. The card is free, easy-to-use and involves none of the hassles typically associated with insurance.
The card is offered as the result of a partnership between a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) and a direct-to-consumer marketing company (like Watertree Health). A PBM is a third-party administrator of prescription programs for health insurance providers including those for employers and the government (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, etc.). They negotiate lower prices at pharmacies and with pharmaceutical companies (rebates), process prescription claims (including those for a prescription discount card) and other functions relating to the management of prescription programs.
The prescription discount card started because PBMs saw an opportunity to extend the prescription discounts, which they had negotiated for their health insurance clients at pharmacies, to consumers who had high prescription expenses. PBMs pay their partners a fee for increasing their cardholder base and usage of the cards. That’s why the card is free to consumers.
There are several recent facts that point to the increasing need for a prescription discount card. According to a recent poll by the Kaiser Foundation, due to cost, 24% of respondents said they did not ﬁll a prescription, and 16% said they skipped doses or split pills. And, although health cost increases leveled off in 2012, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, prescription drug prices rose 3.6%, twice the rate of inﬂation. In addition, co-pays have been increasing. In 2012, generic and brand name co-pays increased between 10% and 13% and there is no end in sight. These days they could be $20/$25 or higher and, if you take monthly medications, this adds up quickly.
Further, with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), minimum standards for coverage, or “Essential Health Beneﬁts,” have been set and a result has been that lists of medicines covered on health insurance plans have gotten smaller.
In addition, many plans, including those provided by employers and most of those purchased on the ACA exchange, have a high deductible that must be met before prescriptions are even covered.
It’s not just the indigent who could benefit from a prescription discount card. It’s anyone who needs to lower their out-of-pocket prescription costs. For many people, these costs are their highest health care expenses. With the Watertree Health prescription discount card, the discounted price is probably lower than the co-pay, no prescription is excluded from possible savings and/or you can use it right away—no qualifications.
Bottomline, a prescription discount card is an important part of the health care solution.
If you are on a medication and you need help affording the prescription, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card or request a card be mailed to you. It provides significant discounts on almost all recommended medications (brand and generic). Most experts agree, taking your medicines as prescribed improves overall health and wellbeing and lowers cost of health care for everyone.
Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health.
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