Cost of not taking your medications image - ScriptSave WellRx

by Roxanna Orsini

It’s a fact. Medications don’t work if patients don’t take them. Taking your medications as prescribed by your physician can help improve the quality and length of your life.

Importance of taking your medications

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50% of Americans have used at least one prescription with in the last 30 days. One recent study shows that patients who were compliant with taking their statin therapy medications for at least two years had a 30% reduction in the risk of hospitalization for acute myocardial infarctions (heart attacks).1

Even with all the benefits medications can have on a patient’s health, there is still an issue with adherence to medication therapy.

After a patient visits their doctor

  • 20% – 30% of new prescriptions never reach the pharmacy.2
  • Of those prescriptions that do get filled, 50% of the time they are not taken as prescribed by the doctor.2
  • After six months of treatment for a chronic condition, patients tend to reduce the amount of medication they are taking, or stop treatment altogether.

Annual results of medication nonadherence

  • 125,000 deaths and at least 10% of hospitalizations.2
  • Costs the United States health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion annually.2,3

Most common reasons medication treatments are adjusted

Patients often discontinue or alter how they are taking their medications due to a variety of factors. A patient may no longer be adherent to their prescription therapy due to:

  • Cost of the medication
  • Experiencing a potential side effect
  • The patient no longer felt they needed the medication, and,
  • The patient feeling they are currently taking too many medications.

If a medication is too costly, ask your provider if they have any samples to provide, or even ask about possible generic alternatives. Prescription discount services, like ScriptSave WellRx, can often help reduce the cost. You may be surprised to find our cash prices is even lower than your insurance copay! Visit our website to check your medication prices.

When you’re considering an adjustment to your medication therapy, it’s important to follow up and discuss the decision with your healthcare provider. Some medications, if discontinued suddenly, can cause more harm than good.

Ways to improve the way you take your medications

Complications from medication nonadherence are 100% preventable. Here are a few tips to help you remember to take your medications:

  • Using an alarm or calendar
  • Filling a weekly pillbox
  • Taking the medication at the same time every day, create a routine
  • Ask your pharmacy about getting a 90-day supply
  • Ask your insurance provider if mail order provides prescription benefits.

Make sure to keep open communication with your healthcare provider. There are times a patient does not report a side effect or concern with the medication until the next appointment. Try reaching out to your provider right away. They are there to help you find a medication that can help improve your health condition.

References:

  1. Lansberg, P., Lee, A., Lee, Z., Subramaniam, K. and Setia, S. (2018). Nonadherence to statins: individualized intervention strategies outside the pill box. Vascular Health and Risk Management, Volume 14, pp.91-102.
  2. Rosenbaum, L. and Shrank, W. (2013). Taking Our Medicine — Improving Adherence in the Accountability Era. New England Journal of Medicine, 369(8), pp.694-695.
  3. Viswanathan, M., Golin, C., Jones, C., Ashok, M., Blalock, S., Wines, R., Coker-Schwimmer, E., Rosen, D., Sista, P. and Lohr, K. (2012). Interventions to Improve Adherence to Self-administered Medications for Chronic Diseases in the United States. Annals of Internal Medicine, 157(11), p.785-95.

If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash discount price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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Opioids and alternatives image

by Benjamin Liang
PharmD Candidate Class of 2019, University of Arizona

Opioids and Their Risks

Opioids are a class of medication used to manage short-term and long-term pain. This medication class is well known to healthcare providers, but also to anyone keeping up with local and national news. The current opioid crisis affects thousands of people every year. When taken inappropriately, opioids can result in inadequate pain relief, drug tolerance, addiction, overdose, and even death. A majority of opioid overdoses that result in death are accidental or unintentional.4 Due to the side effects and risks associated with opioids, healthcare providers are being urged to change opioid prescribing habits to meet new opioid regulations and to keep patients safe.

Changing Opioid Regulations

Prescribers are currently facing new opioid regulations at the state and federal levels. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have implemented a maximum daily limit for opioids and some states are also cracking down by regulating the amount of days allowed on initial prescriptions. Arizona restricts initial opioid prescriptions to 5 days and sets an opioid dose limit per day.1 New laws and regulations are changing prescribing habits in hopes of reducing the thousands of opioid related overdoses every year. If you are starting or currently taking opioids, ask your healthcare providers if there are any new rules and regulations specific to your state.

Alternatives to Opioids

There are many alternative medications that can be used to manage acute and chronic pain. Medication selection is based on identifying the cause of the pain. A sprained ankle might be treated with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to reduce swelling and inflammation, but the same NSAID would not have benefit for pain caused by nerve damage.

Potentially useful medications for pain include:

Nociceptive pain

  • Non-opioid analgesic agents (aspirin, acetaminophen, NSAIDs)
  • Tramadol
  • Topical analgesic agents
  • Muscle Relaxants

Neuropathic pain

  • Gabapentinoids
  • Antidepressants (venlafaxine, duloxetine, amitriptyline)
  • Topical analgesic agents

Opioid Non-responsive cancer pain

  • Alpha 2 adrenergic agonists

The listed medications and classes are a general list not intended to help in your personal medication selection. The ideal approach to pain management identifies the underlying cause of the pain and selects the appropriate treatment.4  Please consult your healthcare providers for pain identification and medication selection.

Questions for Healthcare Providers

All of the drugs and drug classes listed above can help in pain management depending on the underlying issue. Classification of the cause and level of pain is something that should be handled by healthcare providers. Asking for your pain classification will assist doctors and pharmacists in identifying the correct pain management therapy.

There are some steps you should take before making changes or starting a new medication. When starting or changing medications, please consult your doctor and pharmacist regarding what to expect. Changes should not be made without consulting a healthcare provider because of potential medication interactions and repercussions of abruptly starting or stopping medications. Your healthcare provider should review your medication dose, route, and time to take your medication. The potential side effects and expected outcomes should also be reviewed.3

If you have any concerns with taking opioid medications, talk to your doctor and pharmacist to help identify if opioids or alternative medications are appropriate.

References
1. Ducey, O. o. (2018). ArizonaOpioid Epidemic Act. azgovernor.gov
2. Rosenquist, E. W. (2017). Overview of the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain. UpToDate
3. Rosenquist, E. W. (2018). Evaluation of chronic pain in adults. UpToDate
4. SAMHSA. (2015). Behavioral Health Trends. Rockville, MD: RTI International


If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

 

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Anxiety medications and children photo

by Jenny Bingham, PharmD

Across the United States, the rate of antidepressant use in children is rising. It has led to prescription costs exceeding $100,000 in the four states with the highest antidepressant prescription rates for children: Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

As the number of antidepressant prescriptions rise, it’s only natural that parents will have a growing number of questions about those medications. Here’s a list of common questions other parents have had when starting pharmacotherapy for their child’s anxiety and/or depression:

How many pills will my child have to take?

The simplest answer is, it depends. Pharmacists are trained to know FDA approved indications for mental health medications. By incorporating pharmacists into the healthcare team, they can help find medications that have dual purposes and decrease the amount of pills in the regimen. Talk to your pharmacist about the medications and if there are alternatives.

How will pharmacotherapy affect my child?

Each patient responds differently to medications. Whereas some patients that are prescribed a common first-line antidepressant (fluoxetine) and tolerate it well, others may have an entirely different reaction. Certain medications can have negative side effects, including:

  • shaking
  • drowsiness
  • weight gain
  • insomnia
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • blurred vision
  • bleeding, and,
  • constipation.

These side effects can be extremely detrimental to a child’s quality of life. It’s important to have open communication with your healthcare provider to ensure that side effects don’t get in the way of medication adherence, school performance, or self-esteem. Current literature provides clinicians a wide variety of information about which side effects are more prominently reported in individual cases. This database of knowledge helps further individualize therapy and avoid potential side effects.

What risks are associated with pharmacotherapy?

Parents should be aware of the potential for abuse, especially with commonly prescribed anxiety medications (ex. alprazolam) that are rated as controlled substances.

Adolescents are at an increased risk of suicidal ideation when initiating certain medications. Family members must be educated on how to monitor, identify, and report these to the provider.

One must also consider the risks of not seeking appropriate treatment, like self-medication with illicit drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. Self-medication can unfavorable effects on one’s mental and physical health.

Are there alternatives to pharmacotherapy?

If a parent decides against using medications, trained therapists can provide alternative options, if appropriate. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common tool that incorporates education, relaxation exercises, coping skills, stress management, and assertiveness training.1

Other approaches include: interpersonal therapy, motivational interviewing, dialectical behavior therapy, supportive therapy, and family therapy. These tools can also be used in combination with medication to improve depression and anxiety. Parents should work closely with their physician to determine if this is a safe option as monotherapy.

Final Thoughts

Decisions about using medications to treat anxiety and/or depression in children must be catered specifically to the patient. It is imperative for health care providers to approach this sensitive topic as a group, including the patient and parents. Pharmacists are a great resource for optimizing medication effectiveness and reducing pill burden.

References:

  1. Beck JS. Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Basics and Beyond, 2nd ed, Guilford Press, New York 2011. p.391.

Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.

If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

 

 

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organizing your medications photo

For those who are new to the ScriptSave WellRx prescription savings program, you may not realize just how long our company has been in the business of saving patients money on their prescriptions. It’s actually well over 20 years – we date back to 1993.

As such, it’s certainly nothing new to us to encounter people ‘paying it forward’ and helping to spread the word. That said, in all that time, it had never occurred to us to open our website to guest bloggers – until now.

After years of working 12 hour days and living on a diet of frozen pizzas, diet soda and coffee, Ellen Christian decided that she’d had enough of being sick, tired and fed-up with everything. Taking matters into her own hands, she turned the tides and now writes about healthy living for busy women while also being a loving caregiver to her disabled husband. She lives in Castleton, VT and authors the extremely popular “Confessions of an Overworked Mom” blogsite. She reaches ~25,000 unique readers every month and we’re delighted that she also uses the ScriptSave WellRx program and that she agreed to write the following blog post for us…

“Be Prepared. Planning Pharmacy Visits Can Save Time As Well As Money”
by Ellen Christian

Now is the time to get organized for cold and flu season. Since my husband is disabled, he has a reduced immune system. Staying healthy during cold and flu season is even more important to us because of this reason. An illness that I can fight off or that lasts me only a day or two can last him a week or more or turn into something more serious.

How to Get Organized for Cold and Flu Season

Living in Vermont, it seems like our cold and flu season lasts quite a while. Winter is the time of year when we get sick most frequently. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when we have snow, sleet, and bad weather. Hazardous driving conditions are just another reason why we try to get organized for cold and flu season. I don’t want to have to run to the store to get tissues or fill a prescription in the middle of a snowstorm.

Right now, I’m stocking up on tissues, orange juice, cough drops, Vitamin C, elderberry syrup and, of course, Marty’s prescriptions. Since he’s disabled, he has several prescriptions he takes each month to manage his symptoms. It can be fairly time-consuming to check the prices for each one with several drug stores. Prescription prices can change regularly so I cannot just assume I’m going to find the best price for everything all in one place.

I’ve been using an app and website called ScriptSave WellRx to save money on Marty’s prescriptions. When I searched on pharmacies in the Castleton, Vermont area, I was surprised at the options. I didn’t realize that my insurance didn’t always have the lowest price for every prescription. Did you know that you may be able to save more money by paying cash and using ScriptSave WellRx? – (Learn more about paying cash for prescriptions here).

ScriptSave WellRx gives “Medicine Chest Pricing” that lets me enter the details of several of Marty’s prescriptions at the same time. Then, I can click the “Price-check” button to see EITHER, the one single pharmacy that gives me the lowest ‘one-stop price’ OR the specific combination of pharmacies that give the lowest individual price for every single prescription.

That means I can stop at one pharmacy with the lowest overall price when I’m pressed for time. Or, I can go from store to store to get each one at the most affordable price when I want to. I can even save all of Marty’s prescriptions in one secure place so I can price-check them each month instead of re-entering them. That’s a huge time saver when you have multiple prescriptions. I just don’t have time to call all the different pharmacies in my area every month for all his prescriptions.

The card is totally free to use and you can get the app in the iTunes store or on Google Pay for free. There’s nothing lost to give it a try and see what you can save. There are no fees and it doesn’t need your credit card information. Plus, there is no way you’ll pay more for your prescription than you do right now. You’ll either get a discount or you can use your insurance like you normally would. Just have the pharmacist check the price with the card and with your insurance.

Give it a try and download it today. On average, members save around 45%, but prescription prices change all the time so it’s always worth re-checking before each refill (…and, as mentioned previously, this is made so much easier by using the ScriptSave WellRx ‘Medicine Chest’).  It’s easy to find savings and every little bit helps. Plus, it has convenient reminders that help keep you on track when you’re busy.


For the best Rx price on
prescription medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.
Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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noacs - warfarin alternatives

by Kali Schweitzer, PharmD candidate 2018
University of Arizona College of Pharmacy

Not so long ago, a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AFib), deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or pulmonary embolism (PE) meant that a prescription for the blood thinner, warfarin (Coumadin), was likely coming your way. In recent years, multiple other blood thinners have become available, and you may have wondered if any of them could be right for you.

What are NOACs?

The NOACs, or novel oral anticoagulants, are a new breed of blood thinner that have arrived on the market within the last ten years. This class of medications includes:

How are NOACs Different from Warfarin?

Multiple clinical trials comparing these alternative warfarin medications have all shown that the NOACs are just as effective as warfarin, and that they have a similar (or lower) risk of bleeding. Warfarin has been around for decades and has been proven to be both safe and effective at preventing blood clots, but it’s no secret that it has its problems. Here are some key differences to note when comparing the newer anticoagulants with warfarin and when deciding what is right for you:

  1. Warfarin requires frequent trips to the lab to have your INR (international normalized ratio) checked. Also referred to as PT time, Prothrombin time is a blood test that measures how long it takes blood to clot, or how well the medication is working. You may potentially need to change your dose to increase or decrease the clotting time. NOACs do not require lab monitoring or frequent dose changes.
  2. NOACs do not have the high potential to interact with food or other medications like warfarin does, meaning there are fewer restrictions. This means no more worrying about how much salad you can eat on a day-to-day basis, or if you are allowed to have that glass of grapefruit juice in the morning. It is still recommended, however, to check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medications, as there are still some medications that may increase your risk of bleeding when taken with the NOACs.
  3. NOACs begin working quickly, while warfarin may take up to a week to start working. Because of this, patients with a DVT or PE starting warfarin may require “bridge” therapy with heparin or enoxaparin (other fast acting blood thinners) to prevent clots while waiting for the warfarin to take effect. This “bridge” therapy is not necessary with the NOACs.
  4. Unlike warfarin, not all of the NOACs have a reliable reversal agent if you were to begin bleeding. With warfarin, if your INR becomes too high or if you are having signs of bleeding, you may be given vitamin K, or phytonadione, to reverse its effects. Currently, Pradaxa is the only NOAC that has an approved reversal agent, called Praxbind (idarucizumab). While bleeding is rare while on the NOACs, the lack of reversal agent is something to keep in mind when deciding which medication may be right for you.
  5. NOACs may not be appropriate if you have decreased kidney and/or liver function. Your doctor will review your labs and information to determine if your kidneys/liver are functioning well enough for you to take one of these medications.

The recent approval of the NOACs has provided prescribers and patients with more options to choose from when a blood thinner is necessary. Because these medications are still relatively new, there is a lot left to learn about their use and limitations, so they may not be appropriate for everyone. It is always important to discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor when starting any of these medications or when switching from one to another.

 

References

Leung LLK, Direct oral anticoagulants and parenteral direct thrombin inhibitors: Dosing and adverse effects. In: UpToDate, Mannucci PM (Ed.), UpToDate, Waltham, MA.

Hanley CM, Kowey PR. Are the novel anticoagulants better than warfarin for patients with atrial fibrillation? Journal of Thoracic Disease. 2015;7(2):165-171. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2015.01.23.


Download the free WellRx app from the iOS app store or the Google Play Store,
and get registered to take advantage of our free medication adherence tools.

If you’re struggling to afford your medications,
visit www.WellRx.com to compare the cash price at pharmacies near you.
You may find prices lower than your insurance co-pay!

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Is your blood pressure too high?

by Rick Lasica, PharmD
Post-Graduate Year 1 Resident

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects nearly 1 in every 3 adults in the United States. Hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer,”  because for the most part, hypertension doesn’t have any warning signs or symptoms. You might not even know you have it. If left untreated, hypertension increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So when is high blood pressure too high?

Blood Pressure by the Numbers

Blood pressure is reported as two numbers: systolic blood pressure (top number) and diastolic blood pressure (bottom number). Systolic pressure is the pressure of your blood against the walls of your heart when it beats, while diastolic pressure is when it rests (between beats). Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 and pre-hypertension (the range before an actual diagnosis of hypertension) is between 120-139 for the top number and 80-89 for the bottom number. A consistent blood pressure reading of 140/90 or greater means you have hypertension.

Preventing and Treating Hypertension

Luckily, there are many ways to prevent and treat hypertension. Lifestyle factors such as smoking tobacco, eating foods high in sodium, not exercising enough, being obese, and drinking alcohol, all increase the likelihood of developing hypertension. These are manageable risk factors that should be minimized or avoided. If all of these lifestyle factors for hypertension are modified in a positive manner and your blood pressure is still high, your doctor might start you on a medication to help it stay controlled. There are several classes of hypertension medications, all of which work differently in the body. Each class of medications works differently to lower your blood pressure, and has unique side effects you should be aware of. Your doctor or pharmacist can discuss these with you.

Common High Blood Pressure Medications

The angiotensin II receptor blocker Valsartan (Diovan) is one of the top high blood pressure medications, followed by the beta blocker Metoprolol Hydrocholorothiazide (Lopressor HCT), Olmesartan (Benicar), and Olmesartan and HCTZ (Benicar HCT).

Other frequently prescribed high blood pressure medications are the ACE inhibitor, Lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), Amlodipine besylate (Norvasc), a calcium channel blocker, and the generic diureticHydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ).

See Your Doctor for High Blood Pressure

It’s important to see your healthcare provider regularly so that they can monitor your blood pressure. Let them know all of the medications you are taking, including anything that doesn’t require a prescription, such as herbals and supplements, since these might be contributing to your high blood pressure. Also, if a new medication to treat your high blood pressure is needed, they will work with you to find a blood pressure medication that doesn’t interact with a medication you might already be taking.

By working with your healthcare provider, you can keep your blood pressure under control to help ensure a long and healthy life!

Resources:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  2. Mayo Clinic
  3. WebMD

For the best Rx price on all of your blood pressure medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.

Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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transitions of care home health image

“It all started with pain radiating down my left arm. It was hard to breathe and I was short of breath. I knew something was wrong and called 911. I was rushed to the hospital. I remember the sirens, but they slowly faded away. Then I woke up. There was a man in a white coat telling me that I’d had a heart attack. He handed me some medicine bottles and prescriptions. Before you know it, I was discharged and on my way home.”

This was how Nancy described her heart attack. After several days in the hospital,  Nancy was discharged home, and now has to take four new medications every day. That can add up to a lot of out-of-pocket expense.

This scenario happens all too often, and through an unfortunate set of events, Nancy was re-admitted into the hospital just three weeks later.

Moving Through the Healthcare System

Transition of Care (TOC) is the movement of a patient from one setting of care (hospital, ambulatory primary care practice, ambulatory specialty care practice, long-term care, home health, rehabilitation facility) to another.1 This definition by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) describes the process of a patient navigating the health care system and the unfortunate, but common reality that gaps in care develop between the hospital and outpatient setting.

A Growing Healthcare Need

This area of healthcare is expanding and becoming more important to help reduce readmission rates and the cost of healthcare. Pharmacists are expanding their roles by providing TOC services to patients newly diagnosed with specific conditions and/or a flare-up of a chronic condition or disease. Quite often will a patient’s medication therapy change upon admittance to a hospital and then at discharge from the hospital. They may be prescribed new medications after a hospital stay. The goal is to ensure the continuity of care for patient and help fill the gap, by:

  • Providing education about a condition
  • Monitoring a condition
  • Helping patients understand their medication.

Why Transition of Care Matters

Helping patients understand their prescription medications allows them to get the most benefit from them, and, to understand why it is important to take their medications as prescribed. Helping patients save on prescription medication costs is what ScriptSave WellRx does.

It is not just pharmacists that are expanding into this role, but other health care professionals like nurses, doctors, and case managers, too. It takes a care team effort and patient-centric approach to ensure that each patient is getting the best, high-quality care available.

 

References:

https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/downloads/8_Transition_of_Care_Summary.pdf


For the best Rx price on statins and other medications,
visit www.WellRx.com.

Compare prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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

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

2 https://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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Impacts to Out-of-Pocket Prescription Drug Costs

TUCSON, AZ (February 16, 2017) – A December 2016 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation illustrates how prescription medications will be a large portion of overall healthcare spending, and how branded drug prices have nearly doubled. The analysis also explains that 1-in-4 people have difficulty affording their medicines, and that most Americans favor actions to keep drug prices down, (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2016).

Unfortunately, a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA-Obamacare) could end up increasing drug costs to insured consumers and leaving millions of Americans uninsured. A report written by the Congressional Budget Office states, “repealing major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, while leaving other parts in place, would cost 18 million people their insurance in the first year and an estimated 32 million people in 2026,” (Congressional Budget Office, 2017). The study also projects that insurance premiums would increase by 25 percent in the first year, then double by 2026.

Regardless of the changes made to the ACA, the end-result will have detrimental impacts on the American healthcare coverage. Even a partial repeal could include heavy changes that will increase costs to consumers.  Insurance plans may no longer be required to cover essential health benefits (EHB) in accordance with benchmark plans. Examples of the potential impacts include:

  • Removal of no-cost preventative coverage
  • Restrictions on maternity and family planning coverage
  • Exclusions of prescription drugs for many diseases and conditions
  • Elimination of prescription drug coverage altogether

The message is clear, even for those retaining their insurance – Americans will be shouldering more out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

“Any reduction in benefits to emerge from a replacement of the law, especially to the essential minimum benefit set, would likely drive patients without adequate drug coverage to seek solutions to combat high priced prescription drugs,” stated Rory Rickert, Principal with QuarterLine Consulting, a national healthcare consulting and services firm.  “I expect that changes to the Affordable Care Act would, if anything, result in increased demand for pharmacy discount programs like those offered by ScriptSave,” added Rickert.

To help populations gain some relief from the upcoming change in their healthcare, ScriptSave® WellRx provides an alternative to paying full price for prescription medications. WellRx enables individuals to compare prices at local pharmacies, look up drug information, and setup reminders. Through a partnership with SinfoníaRx, members can even consult with a pharmacist to ask detailed questions about the medications they are taking.

Not only does WellRx give discounts on prescriptions not covered by insurance, it may even provide discounted prices lower than insurance copays. The program is available as a stand-alone for consumers (wellrx.com), white-labeled option for organizations, or an integrated solution for health care organizations (WellRx Connect).

“The future of healthcare is uncertain at this time, but no matter the outcome, no one should ever overpay for prescription medications. ScriptSave can help healthcare consumers with high deductible health plans, limited insurance, or no health insurance at all,” said Marcus Sredzinski, COO and Executive Vice President, ScriptSave. “Our products help consumers save money on prescriptions, understand their medications and, most importantly, remain adherent.  We can help organizations and individuals impacted by the repeal and replacement of ACA, or any changes to their insurance status,” added Sredzinski.

This may be especially poignant in light of recent data published by PatientsLikeMe. From a poll of over 2,000 patients, their survey showed:

  • 65.5% stated that lower costs for prescription medications was a top priority
  • A further 30.8% rated lower Rx costs as being important
  • Fewer than 4% had little-or-no concern about prescription prices

Furthermore, it’s not just patients with existing health conditions that rank lower prescription costs as a priority – the general public seems to agree. Data from a December 2016 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found that lowering the cost of prescription drugs was listed as being important or a priority for 89% of the general population.

When opinions like these are voiced, ScriptSave is ready to help by doing what they do best, lower the out-of-pocket costs of prescription medications for consumers.

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. ScriptSave’s WellRx solutions are not only designed to assist consumers directly but can be utilized by employers, employer groups, health plans, PBMs, and other organizations to assist their populations with prescription adherence, savings, and information. The WellRx savings network includes about 62,000 independent and chain pharmacies. In 2016 alone, ScriptSave earned members more than $1.3 Billion in savings.

References:

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Analysis of National health expenditure Historical and Projected data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group (Assessed on December 16, 2016). https://kff.org/slideshow/what-are-the-recent-and-forecasted-trends-in-prescription-drug-spending/

Congressional Budget Office (January 2017). How Repealing Portions of the Affordable Care Act Would Affect Health Insurance Coverage and Premiums. https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52371-coverageandpremiums.pdf

PatientsLikeMe (February 2017). Largest Patient Poll on ACA Shows Patients Value Health Care Law More Than the General Population, Are Less Inclined to Want a Repeal. https://news.patientslikeme.com/press-release/largest-patient-poll-aca-shows-patients-value-health-care-law-more-general-population-

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (January 6, 2017). Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: Health Care Priorities for 2017. https://kff.org/health-costs/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-health-care-priorities-for-2017/

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About ScriptSave:

For more than two decades, ScriptSave has been closing the gaps in healthcare and prescription coverage with innovative savings programs for the uninsured, under-insured, and insured. Headquartered in Tucson, ScriptSave solutions, analytics, and unique expertise save consumers money and increase medication adherence, while attracting and retaining loyal, profitable customers, members, and patients for our clients. ScriptSave is a member of the MedImpact, Inc. family of companies. For more information, go to www.scriptsave.com. Follow us: @SSWellRx (Twitter), ScriptSave WellRx (Facebook).

About QuarterLine:

QuarterLine is a health-focused services company specializing in providing Information Technology, Clinical, and Professional services to federal and private sector customers. QuarterLine supports a diverse client base in all areas of health, including navigating the complex regulatory and business environments, emerging health programs, and technology. QuarterLine’s mission is to provide the right level of support at the right time to our customers to ensure that the outcome of the initiative or the resulting technology delivers the needed results to improve healthcare delivery and increase efficiency. QuarterLine is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. www.quarterline.com

About SinfoníaRx:

SinfoníaRx, a wholly owned subsidiary or Sinfonía Healthcare Corp, is an innovative health care company whose mission is to provide the highest quality healthcare solutions for health plans, patients, and caregivers. We improve the health and wellness of patients with complex and chronic illnesses through the use of innovative healthcare technology and the most experienced medication therapy management providers in the nation.  www.sinfoniarx.com

 

ScriptSave Contact:

Shawn Ohri, Vice President of Business Development
sohri@scriptsave.com

QuarterLine Contact:

Rory L. Rickert, Principal
480-451-0148
rrickert@quarterline.com

Sinfonía Contact:

Kevin Boesen, 520-499-3376
KPBoesen@sinfoniarx.com

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ScriptSave WellRx - Adrenaclick is a low-priced EpiPen alternative

When drug manufacturer, Mylan, raised the price of a pair of EpiPen’s to more than $600 last summer, patients in need scrambled for alternatives. The sharply higher price shocked parents last summer when they went to buy EpiPen devices for their children for the new school year.

Adrenaclick® offers a true alternative to the high-priced EpiPen. It has been declared safe by the FDA, national pharmacies sell it, and its list price is a third less than the EpiPen’s. Both the EpiPen auto-injectors and the authorized generic of Adrenaclick are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and contain the same active ingredient as other epinephrine auto-injector devices. Additionally, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology includes generic Adrenaclick among therapeutic options in an anaphylaxis emergency action plan*.

Impax Laboratories, the current owner of the rights to Adrenaclick, is spending millions of dollars to upgrade its assembly line to meet heightened demand for the product after the EpiPen price increases.

Now, CVS is offering the low-cost EpiPen Alternative, Adrenaclick, at all CVS Pharmacy locations

Patients can now purchase the authorized generic for Adrenaclick at a cash price of $109.99 for a two-pack – the lowest cash price in the market.

What should you do if you’re considering this switch? First, talk to your doctor about whether the authorized generic for Adrenaclick is a good fit for you specific medical condition. Your doctor can then write a prescription for an “epinephrine auto-injector” to ensure the lowest-cost product is filled. Patients who already have a prescription on file with CVS Pharmacy can ask their pharmacist to check with the doctor about making the change.

Click here to find Adrenaclick at the nearest CVS, or see pricing at other pharmacies.

 

 

* American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology


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

Compare prescription drug prices at more than
62,000 pharmacies nationwide.

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ScriptSave WellRx Impact of Healthcare Repeal

**update**

As the House of Representatives gets set to vote again on repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, consumers are still unsure of the impact to their healthcare. The vote will come almost two months after the aborted first vote on bill.

House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi noted that the new bill had not yet been analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which will ultimately estimate what the bill will cost, as well as how it will affect premiums and the number of people covered by insurance.

A previous analysis by the CBO on the effects of repealing the ACA, indicated it would impact millions of Americans.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has analyzed the effects of healthcare repeal, and estimates 32 million Americans will lose health coverage if a repeal plan, like the one passed in 2015 by Congress, were to become law. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is responsible for scoring the impact of legislation on the deficit.

The study shows the number of people who are uninsured would increase by 18 million in the first plan year following enactment of the bill. The CBO also estimated that premiums for policies purchased through the marketplaces or directly from insurers would increase by 20 to 25 percent that year. The elimination of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility and of subsidies for insurance purchased through the ACA marketplaces would increase that number to 27 million in following years, and then to 32 million in 2026.

Medicare and Medicaid enrollees may also see the stresses of change with possible increases in premiums and deductibles. The bill’s effects on insurance coverage and premiums would be greater once the repeal of the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for insurance purchased through the marketplaces took effect, roughly two years after enactment.

With the loss of insurance coverage, many patients will no longer be able to afford the prescription medicines they need to stay healthy. ScriptSave® WellRx can help.

ScriptSave WellRx is a prescription savings and adherence program that offers up to an 80% discount on generic and name brand prescription medications.

More than half a million people already take advantage of the savings through ScriptSave WellRx. It’s available free on the web (www.wellrx.com) and as Apple and Android apps. WellRx enables individuals to compare prices for prescription drugs at local pharmacies, look up drug information, and consult with a pharmacist about their medications.


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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