Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Customers of exchanges such as Kynect are more likely to get prescriptions than other private health-insurance customers

"People enrolled in health plans through the Affordable Care Act exchanges are ramping up their use of prescription medications more rapidly than those in employer or government-sponsored plans, according to a new report from Express Scripts, the largest prescription drug benefits company," Carolyn Y. Johnson reports for The Washington Post, which headlined the story "A new sign Obamacare is helping the people who really need it."

"In 2015, people in the exchanges increased their number of prescriptions filled by 8.6 percent, four times the rate of people who receive insurance through commercial plans outside of the exchanges," Johnson writes. However, "The overall amount spent was much lower per person -- $777.27 compared to $1060.75" for commercial plans.

"The rapid uptake of the prescription drug benefit suggests there was a significant unmet medical need for many people gaining insurance through the exchanges, some of whom could have preexisting conditions and may not have previously had access to medicines," Johnson reports. "Before 2014, insurance companies could refuse coverage or charge much higher premiums for people with pre-existing conditions."

Express Scripts handles about a third of the prescriptions paid for by plans sold through the exchanges, including Kynect in Kentucky.

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