Study Finds Drugs Often Cheaper Than Insurance Co-Pays

If you think having health insurance actually makes your prescription medications more affordable you should know a new study finds that’s not necessarily true. A study published recently in JAMA found insurance co-pays for generic drugs were actually higher than the cost of the drug 28 percent of the time. For name-brand medications, it was higher six percent of the time. Charging a co-pay higher than the cost of the drug is known as a “clawback.” Lead study author Karen Van Nuys explains the term, saying, “This is money that patients could be saving if they knew about and could avoid the practice.” The study looked at 9.5 million claims for prescriptions in 2013, and found 2.2 million of those included clawbacks totaling $135 million. To avoid clawbacks, always ask pharmacists if it would be cheaper to pay directly for your prescriptions rather than using your insurance. However, note that some insurance plans bar pharmacists from telling patients when they would get their prescriptions cheaper by paying cash. (Newser