Massachusetts Rejects Proposal For High-Deductible Prescription Drug Plan

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The Massachusetts Health Insurance Connector AuthorityBoard on Thursday rejected a proposal for a prescription drug plan thatwould have included a $15 copayment for refills of generic drugs, aswell as a $1,000 deductible for brand-name drugs with additional copaysof $50 or $75 per refill, the Boston Globereports. The board did not conduct an official vote on thehigh-deductible plan, but members voiced their disapproval by notingthat actual savings on monthly premiums would be limited and that theplan could leave people with inadequate coverage, the Globe reports. Board members asked staff to find other ways to reduce the cost of drug coverage, according to the Globe.

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InMarch, the board approved a requirement that all residents obtainhealth insurance with prescription drug coverage. The board in Novemberwill release coverage standards for insurers, and residents must havedrug coverage by January 2009.

The Globe reportsthat the board is considering ways to make drug coverage affordable forthe more than 160,000 state residents who have health insurance but nodrug coverage. In addition, about 30% of state residents who purchasednonsubsidized coverage through the authority chose plans that do notinclude drug coverage. According to authority staff, drug coveragetypically adds about 15% to monthly premium costs. The board is tryingto reduce the added costs to about 5% of monthly premiums whileoffering adequate coverage that provides access to generic drugs(Dembner, Boston Globe, 10/12).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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