Nebraskans needing prescription drugs will now know if it is cheaper to buy them using insurance or cash. Health And Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says prior to now, pharmacists were under gag clauses that prohibited them from telling patients of lower cost options.
Secretary Azar says, “I think it surprises a lot of people to learn about this practice where insurance companies were gagging pharmacists telling patients if they would just pay out of pocket, they might be able to pay less for their medicine than if they ran it through insurance. President Trump knew about this and he called it out in his Drug Pricing Blueprint back in May. Within a week we told Medicare plans they better not be doing this. Now, bipartisan action of Congress outlawed these clauses in Medicare and commercial.”
Secretary Azar says insurance companies contract with pharmacies to be in their network. The insurance companies set the rules. That clause is gone and now Nebraskans can walk into their pharmacy and ask if they can pay less by paying out of pocket for their medicine.
That means big savings for some. Secretary Azar says, “it depended on the respective gag clause. You might be able to pay $4 in cash for a medicine but before, to run it through your insurance and pay $15 to $20 or even more if you were in your deductible period. If you have 7, 8, 9 medicines, that adds up. That is real money for American seniors and citizens at the pharmacy.”
Secretary Azar says this will not have unintended consequences regarding pricing and insurance availability.
President Trump will sign the Know the Lowest Price Act and the Patents Right to Know Drug Prices Act.