Letter to USA Today on Drug Plan Shopping

As submitted to USA TODAY

To the Editor:

Your article was right to note that drug coverage deserves far more coverage than it gets ("Insurance shopping? Put drug coverage atop list," Oct. 9), but it omitted key facts.

First, it overlooked pharmacists, a free source of expert advice for consumers. Every day community pharmacists help patients explore options to lower their drug costs. In addition most health plans let patients shop local to obtain 90-day supplies of "maintenance" medications at community pharmacies. So patients can realize savings without being forced to use mail order if they don't like it.

Second, you should advise consumers to read the fine print in choosing their drug coverage if they value choosing their pharmacy. Some plans feature an attractive premium, but require the patient to spend the time (and gasoline costs) to travel much further to reach a pharmacy authorized by the plan to offer the advertised co-pay.

B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA
National Community Pharmacists Association
Alexandria, VA

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