UnitedHealth Group to drop co-pays for insulin as of Jan. 1 for “eligible members”

Not sure what “eligible members” will mean, but let’s assume that it means most members of the insurer’s group health plans will no longer have to share costs for life-saving insulin:

Alongside its earnings on Friday morning, insurance giant UnitedHealthcare revealed that it will eliminate out-of-pocket costs for a series of medications, including insulin, for eligible members.

The insurer announced that it will offer $0 cost share for five drugs in its fully insured group plans. The new offering could be available as early as Jan. 1, pending regulatory approvals.

UnitedHealth Group, the payer’s parent company, said that the move is part of a broader effort at both UnitedHealthcare and Optum to address affordability and accessibility of drugs. Lowering out-of-pocket costs eases the financial burden on patients while also boosting medication adherence.

“High prices are a significant barrier to prescription drugs for many people, so we are using our unique capabilities to deliver savings for consumers,” said Brian Thompson, CEO of UnitedHealthcare, in a statement. “We are doing what we can to shield people from the prices set by pharmaceutical companies, and hope all stakeholders also will act to make prescription drugs more affordable.” 

BTW, its earnings were $80.33 billion with a “b”.

This comes on the heels of Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom announcing that his state will invest in producing its own supplies of insulin.

I don’t suppose the California announcement and UnitedHealth Group’s announcement are related. (wink, wink)

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