Blue Cross Ends No-Cost Generic Drug Program

Armen Hareyan's picture

No-Cost Generic Drug


Independence Blue Cross last week announced that a program offering members no-cost generic prescription drugs has successfullyencouraged people to switch to generic drugs and that the program willend, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The "no pay copay" program was launched in January and officials extended the program in March.

Duringthe program, the portion of prescriptions filled with generic drugsincreased from 52% to 58.3%, according to Independence spokespersonKaren Burnham. The company estimated that the program saved membersabout $50 million in waived copayments. About one-third ofIndependence's 3.2 million members were eligible for the program.Burnham said the insurer expects members to continue switching togenerics even though copays will not be waived.

Employersstill will have the option to waive copays for generic drugs whenchoosing health insurance plans. A survey showed that one-quarter ofsubscribers were motivated to switch to generics when the copay was $20less expensive than for brand-name drugs. Because of those results,Independence will recommend a $20 price differential for drug copays,according to Burnham. The typical difference between copays for genericand brand-name drugs is $10 to $20 (Burling, Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/30).

Reprinted with permission from Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat The Kaiser Daily HealthPolicy Report is published for, a free service of The HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation.