CVS has announced a health insurance option called RxZERO with no out-of-pocket costs for diabetes medications. The savings in the RxZERO plan come from patients adhering to their medications and from offering generic, lower-cost drugs.
According to research by CVS, the average person with diabetes spends $467.24 on diabetes medications annually, while 12 percent of people spend $1,000 or more.
What is RxZERO?
CVS Caremark is establishing RxZERO for patients with either employee or private health care plans. Caremark is the prescription benefit management subsidiary of CVS Health which has over 102 million plan members. The option would not raise costs for the insurance plan, and would not increase premiums or deductibles for those in the plan. These savings would apply to both type 1 and type 2 medications, including insulin, the price of which has skyrocketed over the past several years.
Currently, CVS is offering RxZERO to its customers, and the plan will be more widely available in 2021.
The new plan is hoping to compete with other pharmacies which are offering low or no copays, such as Cigna’s ExpressScripts and UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx. In addition, online pharmacies are now in the game as well, such as Amazon, Capsule, and NowRx.
Lower costs, adherence to medications
Making sure that people have access to their diabetes medications is very important, since many are foregoing taking their prescribed medications due to the cost. Sticking to a medication regime ensures fewer dangerous health situations, hospitalizations, diabetes complications, and even deaths.
Troyen A. Brennen, Chief Medical Officer at CVS Health, said, “Eliminating out-of-pocket costs for diabetes medications ensures long-term affordability, improves adherence, and most importantly, put patients on the path to better health.”
Others are also working to help make managing diabetes more affordable, including states which are passing caps on insulin prices, and insulin manufacturers such as Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk which are offering lower-cost insulin.