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Under my health insurance plan, how much will I pay for medicines?

ANSWER

With some health plans, you pay a coinsurance for your medicines. This is a set percentage of the drug's cost, such as 30%. With other health plans, you pay a prescription copay, which means you pay a fixed amount for each medicine you buy.

Many formularies have two or more cost levels, called tiers. The copayment for each tier will likely be different. Higher-level tiers cost you more. For instance, a third-tier medicine costs more than a first-tier one.

SOURCES:

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Essential Health Benefits Standards: Ensuring Quality, Affordable Coverage."

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: "State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs" and "Copayment/coinsurance in drug plans."

Consumers Union and Consumers Report: "Your Health Plan’s Formulary: The List of Preferred Prescription Drugs."

FAIR Health: "Factors to Consider When Choosing a Health Plan" and "A New Look At Flexible Spending Plans."

Health Reform GPS, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services: "Update: Essential Health Benefits Final Rule."

National Conference of State Legislatures: "State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs."

FDA: "The Possible Dangers of Buying Medicines over the Internet" and "Generic Drugs: Questions and Answers."

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Definitions of Health Insurance Terms."

Avalere Health: "Drug Coverage in Essential Health Benefits Benchmark Plans: Formulary Analysis."

American Cancer Society: "Formularies and drug coverage."

Reviewed by Sarah Goodell on February 14, 2018

SOURCES:

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Essential Health Benefits Standards: Ensuring Quality, Affordable Coverage."

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: "State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs" and "Copayment/coinsurance in drug plans."

Consumers Union and Consumers Report: "Your Health Plan’s Formulary: The List of Preferred Prescription Drugs."

FAIR Health: "Factors to Consider When Choosing a Health Plan" and "A New Look At Flexible Spending Plans."

Health Reform GPS, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services: "Update: Essential Health Benefits Final Rule."

National Conference of State Legislatures: "State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs."

FDA: "The Possible Dangers of Buying Medicines over the Internet" and "Generic Drugs: Questions and Answers."

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: "Definitions of Health Insurance Terms."

Avalere Health: "Drug Coverage in Essential Health Benefits Benchmark Plans: Formulary Analysis."

American Cancer Society: "Formularies and drug coverage."

Reviewed by Sarah Goodell on February 14, 2018

NEXT QUESTION:

What are the tiers of costs for medicines in health plans?

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