UnitedHealthcare (NYSE: UNH) announced on Tuesday to expand its pharmacy discounts to millions of customers who fill prescriptions through retail pharmacies or home delivery. The new program will apply to approximately 7 million people insured by healthcare company.
Although drug makers frequently give rebates for prescription drugs, those discounts rarely go back to consumers filling their prescriptions. Instead, many of those rebates fall back in pharmaceutical companies, resulting in a higher premium for prescription drugs.
Beginning in 2019, the new program will lower the costs by directly providing customers savings from drug manufacturers rebates at the time of the purchase. The savings will apply at the exact moment of the purchase in order to insure the lowest prices for customers.
UnitedHealthcare is trying to combat the health system to provide lower-income classes with cheaper solutions and alternatives to purchase prescription drugs instead of paying a higher premium.
“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, “We believe our efforts to enhance value for our customers will not only benefit our members, but the health care system as a whole.”
The discounts will be available to all fully insured group plan participants that UnitedHealthcare supports, but it does not apply to the insurer’s individual coverage or to any insurance provided through businesses.