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Salt Lake City-based Select Health and its pharmacy benefits manager Scripius will be one of the first health plans in the U.S. to provide member access to Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, meaning members will have direct access to the prescription drug service.
The partnership grew out of a philosophical alignment between the companies, with each citing the desire to provide a simple and transparent process to ensure people can access needed prescription medications while securing the best pricing.
“We are enabling our members to have access to more affordable healthcare by assisting them in finding optimal drug prices,” said Rob Hitchcock, Select Health president and CEO.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
Through the relationship, Select Health members will have access to more than 1,000 prescription products at potentially lower prices than traditional pharmacy locations. Members can visit Cost Plus Drugs online to explore benefits.
Select Health is no stranger to these types of partnerships. In August it announced a co-branding relationship for Medicare Advantage plan offerings with Kroger Health, the grocer’s healthcare division, effective January 1, 2024.
These new co-branded plans will be offered in select counties in four states: Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. Select said the plan offerings will increase access to options and services that promote health and wellness, and provide customer savings on groceries and prescription medications.
Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company, meanwhile, is one of a number of organizations teaming with Blue Shield of California on a new pharmacy care model designed to lower prescription medication costs to the tune of about $500 million annually, once the multiyear strategy is fully implemented.
Blue Shield intends to make this happen via partnerships with companies “that share Blue Shield’s vision for more affordable and transparent pharmacy services,” according to the organization. As part of the model, Amazon Pharmacy will provide free delivery of prescription medications, complete with status updates, as well as upfront pricing and 24/7 access to pharmacists. Mark Cuban Cost Plus Drug Company will establish a transparent and more affordable pricing model to reduce surprise drug costs at the pharmacy pick-up counter.
THE LARGER TREND
The battle over who’s to blame for high drug prices has been ongoing for years. PhRMA claims that net prices from manufacturers have flattened, while insurers, represented by AHIP, claim that drugmakers alone set the price of drugs. PBMs have been called middlemen that negotiate prices with manufacturers, receiving rebates for preferred placement on a plan’s formulary.
PhRMA recommends that PBM compensation no longer be tied to the price of medicines and that they should instead receive a flat fee. Also, PBMs should share savings directly with patients so they don’t pay more than their insurer pays, PhRMA said.
Email the writer: Jeff.Lagasse@himssmedia.com