Pharmacy benefit manager Medco Health Solutions on Thursday announced a plan to offer reduced-cost generic and brand-name drugs to small- and medium-sized businesses, the AP/Austin American-Statesman reports. The plan, called "Generics First," will be offered through health insurers that partner with Medco and will be targeted at businesses with up to about 500 workers. Employers will pay premiums for the plan that are about half as expensive as traditional prescription drug coverage, and workers will be able to buy generic drugs for as little as $10 for a 90-day supply via mail order, according to John Driscoll, Medco's group president for new business development. The plan covers 818 different medications. Medco's aim is "to sign up new customers in a market generally overlooked as its competitors focus on serving plans for huge corporations and government agencies," the AP/American-Statesman reports. Driscoll said that Nationwide Life Insurance, the first insurer to sign up for the plan, will implement it this week. "The biggest and fastest-growing need in the marketplace is for some sort of low-cost prescription plan," Driscoll said. He added, "While many of the companies we're targeting have little or no insurance plan today, they want it or may have had it in the past." Anthony Wisniewski, head of health care policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, "I think plans like this will be attractive to small and midsize employers because Medco is offering both generic and brand-name drugs." Andrew Speller, a health care services analyst at A.G. Edwards & Sons, said he expects all PBMs to offer similar plans. Some PBMs already might be quietly offering such plans, Speller added (Johnson, AP/Austin American-Statesman, 10/13).
"Reprinted with permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation . © 2005 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: 2006-10-17 13:00