Express Scripts to Offer Cheaper Drugs for Uninsured Customers

NEW YORK (BY: KATIE THOMAS, THE NEW YORK TIMES) — It is one of the most acute indignities of being uninsured in this country: Those with the least ability to pay are asked to spend the most for their prescription drugs.

That’s because people without health insurance are forced to pay the list price for brand-name drugs, while insurers have access to a lower, negotiated rate for the same products.

On Monday, one of the biggest pharmacy benefit managers in the drug world, Express Scripts, said it would begin offering a lower rate for a select group of frequently used drugs to people without health insurance, or to those who are stuck in plans with such high deductibles they couldn’t otherwise afford their medications.

The move by Express Scripts, which has been widely criticized as one of the major drivers of rising drug costs, is particularly well timed. It comes just days after Republicans passed a health care bill that some estimate could leave millions of Americans without health insurance, and when there is considerable uncertainty among various layers of the nation’s health care industries.

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