July 11, 2019

UnitedHealthcare Revises “My ScriptRewards Program” to Focus on Providers Only

On July 8, UnitedHealthcare, the largest commercial health care insurer in the US, advised the Academy that they are changing their plans for their “My ScriptRewards” program and are no longer promoting it directly to their insurance customers living with HIV. (for more background, see 11/15/18 issue) This initiative, started last year, offered their members the opportunity to earn pre-paid debit cards ($250 per card, two cards per year available) by choosing to accept lower cost HIV treatment regimens in place of the higher-tiered treatment plan prescribed by their health care provider.

As of June 27, UnitedHealthcare has discontinued marketing of the program to consumers. Instead, it is promoting the program to providers (who currently prescribe tiered ARV regimens to treat UHC members) exclusively. Since the program’s inception, UnitedHealthcare has encouraged providers to make their patients aware of the savings available through My ScriptRewards. Their new decision to promote it only to providers – and not to patients – also means that there will be no claim edit or “soft rejection” at the pharmacy on the fourth fill of a tiered regimen, as they had previously planned.

The Academy registered their appreciation directly to UHC on this revised marketing strategy for the program.

Judge Halts Administration’s Requirement to Include Drug Prices in Pharmaceutical Ads

In June, three major drug manufacturers filed suit against the Trump administration, maintaining that it was a violation of their freedom of speech to be required by DHHS to disclose their products’ list prices in their advertising.

Last Tuesday, one day before the DHHS rule was scheduled to go into effect, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta blocked the regulation. He ruled that DHHS had no regulatory power to make manufacturers disclose prices in television commercials,  NPR reported. In summary, Mehta contended that, “no matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized.”

The New York Times reported a DHHS spokeswoman as observing that, “Although we are not surprised by the objections to transparency from certain special interests, putting drug prices in ads is a useful way to put patients in control and lower costs.”

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