DestinationRx Medicare Drug Compare tool helps seniors manage prescription drug plans during crucial, but complicated, healthcare reform
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Healthcare reform legislation has enacted changes that will significantly affect the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. The most immediate impact of the reform aims to close the “donut hole”, a component of the benefit design in which seniors must pay the full cost for their drugs themselves. However, while it will ultimately be phased out completely, the donut hole will continue to exist another ten years and will, in the meantime, be more complex for beneficiaries than in previous years. To address the new communication challenges this process creates, DestinationRx has launched its new Medicare Drug Compare (MDC) tool, aimed at helping seniors better understand annual prescription drug costs and making it easy to pinpoint the best and most affordable options based on specific needs.
The donut hole is a gap in coverage that occurs when spending by the beneficiary and the drug plan exceeds $2,830, at which point the member must pay the full cost of their medications. After they spend another $3,610, they become eligible for “catastrophic” drug coverage, under which they pay only 5% of their drug costs. The first step in the reform will offer a $250 rebate coupon for seniors entering this gap. Medicare Drug Compare will help seniors estimate their annual drug costs, including when they might fall into the donut hole, and offer ways to minimize or even avoid the donut hole by switching to lower cost alternative (LCA) drugs.
The MDC tool provides alternative choices to a user’s current prescription drugs, including generic drug options, which can be up to 80 percent cheaper, even when no direct generic drug is currently available. DestinationRx continually monitors the activity in the generic pharmaceutical marketplace to ensure the content is accurate and up to date. MDC takes the legwork out of researching drug choices and presents a comprehensive comparison that offers Medicare beneficiaries the potential for substantial savings on prescription drugs.
“Switching to lower cost drugs through our Medicare Drug Compare tool relieves the headache of prescription drug purchases for users while reducing overall spending for the carriers; it is a beneficial tool for all parties involved,” said Alexander Grunewald, Ph.D., Vice President of DestinationRx. “Lowering prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries also reduces total drug spending for carriers. Furthermore, providing beneficiaries with access to the MDC tool improves member retention for providers because it enhances member satisfaction by simply helping users manage a complex and often expensive insurance plan.”
Medicare Drug Compare can be utilized by healthcare carriers through sophisticated integration of the tool onto their health plan’s website, making it directly available to their members. Both carriers and members reduce costs when beneficiaries improve formulary compliance with lower cost drugs. In addition, having access to lower cost drugs encourages seniors to actually buy and take their drugs, thus increasing adherence. These lower cost alternatives are provided through the same proprietary dose-specific mapping used by healthcare providers such as CMS and Medco.
The Medicare Drug Compare tool is user-friendly, taking seniors through screens where they can input their ZIP code, select their PDP or MAPD plan, and enter the drugs they are taking. For more specified results there is an option to select a pharmacy for network pricing or load a list of drugs using claims data. Users can see the monthly and annual savings of lower cost options in a clear and easy-to-read bar chart; they are encouraged to explore lower cost alternatives, and can quickly see the monthly and annual impact of switching to a lower cost drug. The MDC also offers a feature to request approval for a drug change from a physician, enabling users to immediately and easily act on the provided recommendations.
DestinationRx tools reach over 100 million Americans and the company’s Medicare Plan Comparison tool has enrolled over 8 million, making it the largest Medicare Exchange in the country. “Our experience shows that seniors are not only willing and able to utilize online tools for prescription drug purchases, but in many cases it is actually their preferred method,” added Grunewald.
Since its inception in 1999, DestinationRx has grown from a pioneer in consumer drug comparison and purchasing to a recognized health plan and drug comparison industry leader. The company provides the healthcare industry with the educational, strategic, and transaction-support tools necessary for their customers and patients to navigate today’s complex healthcare marketplace and make better health care decisions and purchases. DestinationRx provides a service that enables greater choices and clarity for consumers, while helping organizations control costs and increase revenue. Clients include government (DestinationRx powers the Part D healthcare exchange of medicare.gov), America’s largest health plans, Fortune 100 employers, advocacy organizations and PBMs. For more information about DestinationRx, please visit http://www.destinationrxinc.com.
Corinth Group Communications
Stephanie Hughes Koenig, 646-342-3050
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INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Seniors Technology Software Health Pharmaceutical Professional Services Insurance Consumer General Health Managed Care