percent opting out of healthcare graph If you’re a ScriptSave® WellRx member, you probably know only too well what it means to face high out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications. We hear this message from members every day and so it didn’t come as a huge surprise when we read details from a Bankrate.com survey.

One quarter of surveyed Americans report that they, or someone in their family, have skipped vital medical care because of the cost. The Bankrate Money Plus Survey also revealed that more than half of those who responded worry about not being able to afford health insurance.

Health Care Anxiety

The survey findings come at a time of rising healthcare costs and huge increases in some health insurance premiums, while increasing insurance deductibles further weigh on the issue. In the survey, 56% say they’re either very or somewhat worried that they might not be able to afford health coverage in the future.

percent concerned about healthcare coverage graph

High-deductible Dilemma – An Expensive Healthcare Punt

High-deductible plans and HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) have been central in the healthcare debate. Such plans hype lower monthly premiums, as compared to traditional insurance. For many, this ends up being little more than an expensive punt (what gets ‘saved’ in premium costs comes back to bite many patients in the form of much higher out-of-pocket expenses when they submit a claim to their insurance provider).

In 2016 the average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance was $6,800 for single coverage in a preferred provider organization (PPO), according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

By comparison, the average annual premium for a high-deductible health plan available through an employer was somewhat more affordable. KFF found that to be $5,762. The trade-off for the lower premium is that the consumer is responsible for saving the necessary amount of money needed to meet a higher deductible in the event of illness or requiring medical attention. In theory, under a high-deductible plan, employees can use a tax-advantaged HSA to cover qualified medical costs so these premium savings can be deferred, tax free, in order to meet future medical expenses. However, for many, this simply does not happen.

Saving Where You Can

No matter how the debate on healthcare reform ends up playing out, here are some things a savvy patient might wish to think about now to make the most of their existing insurance benefits:

  • Get an annual checkup: Finding out if you have early underlying health issues earlier in the year and treating them, brings you closer to meeting your deductible before year-end.
  • Consider low-cost health care alternatives: See if your insurance plan grants access to telehealth services. These online virtual doctor visits can be an inexpensive (and faster!) alternative to many minor medical conditions.
  • Know your network: While your Primary Care Provider may be in-network, many specialty physicians and services may not be. You’ll be paying more for care from out-of-network services, and what you pay may not go toward your annual deductible. 
  • Get a free ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card (or mobile app): For those facing high out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, be it due to a gap in insurance or high insurance copays/deductibles, a free download of the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card might help. As a patient, the card (or mobile app) won’t cost a penny to use. If it helps, great—enjoy the benefit of a lower-cost medication. If not, then it didn’t cost anything to try. That said, this savings program did yield an average savings rate is 45% (with savings up to 80%*) in 2016, and the ScriptSave WellRx program is contracted with over 62,000 pharmacies, nationwide. You might be surprised to find out you’re eligible for low-cost prescriptions with your ScriptSave WellRx card.

References:

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/07/heres-why-a-quarter-of-american-families-are-skipping-their-doctor-visits.html

http://www.bankrate.com/banking/savings/money-pulse-0617/ 


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CBO analysis of Congress' Obamacare repeal or replace

It’s a hectic time for anyone trying to predict what will happen to their family’s healthcare costs. Every conceivable think tank, group, association and committee seems to have an opinion about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare), and many ScriptSave WellRx members are wondering (and worrying) about who to believe.

One thing seems to be certain – change is coming. For some, it’ll be well received, while others may be worse for the change.

At ScriptSave, we keep close watch for signs of higher prescriptions prices. Anyone familiar with us, knows that our long-standing mission has been to close the gaps in prescription coverage. We have a 20-year history of working with health plans and pharmacies to provide consumers with discounts on their prescription medications. We choose not to make political statements, but we will insert ourselves into a discussion if we see opportunities to help inform our members.

After reading the much-anticipated Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the Republican Obamacare repeal bill, we wanted to summarize some important conclusions that, if you choose to believe the CBO, might be worth taking note of.

The CBO data suggest that roughly 24 million more people would be uninsured by 2026, under the new proposed plan. If the bill is enacted, 14 million more people would be uninsured in 2018 alone.

The nonpartisan CBO also forecasts the GOP plan would cut the deficit by $337 billion over a decade, primarily coming from funding cuts to Medicaid and private insurance subsidies.

An estimated 50 million people were uninsured when Obamacare was enacted in 2010, according to the National Health Interview Survey. This compares to a total of 52 million people who the CBO now estimates would be uninsured by 2026 if the new House bill became law.1

An analysis of the revised Senate amendment of the bill determined that the bill would result in 22 million fewer people with health insurance by 2026, and 15 million fewer just in the next year.5

An Increase on Premiums Through 2020

The CBO analysis of comparative projections, relative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), shows how the Republicans’ Affordable Health Care Act would lead to higher average premiums in the individual market prior to 2020—15% in 2018 and 20% in 2019. The CBO made note that premium changes under the new proposal would differ “significantly” for people of different ages. In particular, the bill would allow insurance companies to charge older customers up to five times more for coverage similar to younger customers.2

Opposition from Healthcare Organizations

Independent of the CBO analysis, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals commissioned a study of the impact of the bill. Their findings led them to send a letter of opposition to Congress. Their study shows hospitals would be burdened with a loss of $165.8 billion in Medicaid reimbursements by 2026. They further noted “reversal of coverage would represent an unprecedented public health crisis” resulting from the loss of insurance coverage.3

Rising Prescription Drug Costs

The national association, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), also recently completed a study showing the majority of health insurance premiums are going towards the cost of prescription drugs.4

Regardless of how things shake out, ScriptSave will continue to do what we’ve done for the past 20 years—provide options to patients who struggle with non-covered and high deductible prescriptions. For those facing high out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications, a free download of the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card may help lower healthcare costs in this area. As a patient, the card (or mobile app) is free to download and free to use. The average savings rate for ScriptSave members is 45% (with many saving up to 80%*), and the ScriptSave WellRx program is contracted with over 62,000 pharmacies, nationwide.

For anyone wondering how it works, we just wrote a blog post on that subject. Learn more in our Honesty 1.01 article (and don’t forget to sign up, regardless of how you voted).


References:

1 https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/americanhealthcareact_0.pdf

2 http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/aca/cbo-republican-healthcare-bill-would-cover-millions-fewer-than-aca-but-reduce-federal-deficit

3 http://www.aha.org/content/16/impact-repeal-aca-report.pdf

4 https://ahip.org/health-care-dollar/

https://www.cbo.gov/publication/52849

* Average and up to savings percentages are based on all discounted prescriptions that were run through the ScriptSave WellRx program in 2016. Discount percentages represent savings provided off of pharmacies’ retail prices for consumers who do not have a discount program and pay cash.

 

For the best Rx price on medications, like
Crestor (rosuvastatin),
Celebrex (celecoxib),
ProAir HFA,

visit
www.WellRx.com.

Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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Congress just unveiled their long-awaited replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). Unfortunately, it’s likely to leave a huge hole in insurance coverage for many in the U.S.While America waits for the final “yay or nay” from Congress, a recent study from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) makes note of how many are already struggling with healthcare costs,making it difficult to for those trying to find low-cost prescriptions.

Cutting Back to Pay Bills

According to the study, 43 percent of adults with health insurance report problems affording their deductible, and 29 percent say they have difficulty paying medical bills. Among those citing trouble paying their medical bills, more than 70 percent have cut back on vacations, spending on food, clothing or basic household consumer items. We feel these people should get assistance when it comes to paying for the prescription drugs they need. That’s why ScriptSave helps consumers find low-cost prescriptions at pharmacies near them—for free.

Making cuts to pay for medical bills - finding low-cost prescriptionsRising Prescription Drug Costs

The national association, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), has completed a study showing the majority of health insurance premiums are going towards the cost of prescription drugs.3

For those facing high out-of-pocket costs for prescription meds due to an insurance gap or high premiums, a free download of the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings card might help. As a patient, the card (or mobile app) won’t cost a penny to use. If it helps, great—enjoy the benefit of a lower-cost medication. If not, then it didn’t cost you anything. That said, our average savings rate is 45% (with reports of savings up to 80%*), and the ScriptSave WellRx program is contracted with over 62,000 pharmacies, nationwide. You might be surprised to find out you’re eligible for low-cost prescriptions with your ScriptSave WellRx card.

ScriptSave’s long-standing mission has been to close the gaps in prescription coverage, and has a 20-year history of working with health plans and pharmacies to provide consumers with discounts on prescribed medications.

If you need to lower your prescription drug costs, ScriptSave WellRx offers help to everyone – regardless of income, age, or insurance coverage. Sign up today and save a little extra money next time you pick up your prescriptions.

 

References:

1 http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/07/519001659/7-things-to-watch-in-the-gops-american-health-care-act

2 http://kff.org/health-costs/poll-finding/data-note-americans-challenges-with-health-care-costs/

3 https://ahip.org/health-care-dollar/

 

* Average and up to savings percentages are based on all discounted prescriptions that were run through the ScriptSave WellRx program in 2016. Discount percentages represent savings provided off of pharmacies’ retail prices for consumers who do not have a discount program and pay cash.


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ScriptSave WellRx - image of contraceptives and price savings

With the new President and members of Congress set to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, you may have seen a number of blogs about why women need to swap their oral contraceptives for an IUD.

The Affordable Care Act required insurance companies to provide women with access to preventive services—which, includes everything from mammograms to cervical cancer screenings, and includes birth control—with no cost-sharing. Under the ACA, this meant women did not have to pay up to $60 a month for the Pill or hundreds of dollars for an IUD.

Research from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that since 2012, there’s been a drop in spending on retail drugs. Oral contraceptive pills account for 63 percent of that drop. In other words, prescription savings on the Pill totals more than half of all the money saved on drugs since the ACA was established.

Birth control costs set to spike after Obamacare repeal

Many birth control pills have generic versions with a lower price. Talk to your physician or pharmacist about generics if cost is a concern. Also, check with your insurance company before getting a prescription to find out which birth control pills are on their formulary of covered medications.

Examples of some common brand name combination birth control pills include (click the drug name to check pricing):

Apri Natazia  Microgestin
Azurette Ocella  Necon
Caziant Yasmin  Nortrel
Gianvi Yaz  Ortho-Novum
Kariva Velivet  Previfem

Currently, birth control pills are free with the ACA, but that might change in the future. And while it’s impossible to predict the exact impact repealing the ACA will have on increasing out-of-pocket expenses for contraceptives, we do know:

  • Under the ACA, copay-free birth control made it possible for women to avoid paying up to $60 a month for the Pill
  • Since 2012 there’s been a drop in what we’ve spent on retail drugs—and 63 percent of it is attributed to oral contraceptive pills
  • The Senate has already started making moves to repeal the ACA, making the threat on no-cost-sharing birth control very real
  • Women spent on average $255 more annually for oral contraceptive pills before the ACA went into effect

If you’re concerned about the impact repealing Obamacare will have on the cost of your contraceptive pills, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, and visit www.WellRx.com for the best savings on prescription medications.


For the best Rx price on oral contraceptive medications,
visit
www.WellRx.com.

Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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