Cigna Launches Web Site To Help Customers Compare Prescription Drug Prices
Cigna has launched a Web site that allows its members to compare the prices of prescription drugs at 52,000 pharmacies nationwide, as well as mail-order or home-delivery drug services, Bloomberg/Indianapolis Star reports. The Web site provides information on drug prices and the patient's out-of-pocket spending on copayments, as well as the prices of generic equivalents as compared with brand-name drugs. In addition to price information, the site alerts patients when they choose to purchase a treatment that might adversely interact with a drug they already are taking, according to Thom Stambaugh, chief pharmacy officer at Cigna.
The insurer, which provides health coverage to nine million people, developed the site at the urging of employers in order to help companies slow the growth in medical costs by "persuading workers to take more responsibility for the expense," Bloomberg/Star reports. The site could save Cigna customers at least 10% on their copays, company officials said. According to Bloomberg/Star, retail prices on prescription drugs can vary by as much as 100% at pharmacies within the same geographical region.
Lois Aronstein, New York state director for AARP, helped gather information for a similar site launched by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D). Aronstein said, "When you shine the light onto what people are charging, you can see the difference from store to store and from chain to chain," adding, "When consumers get engaged, it really moves the needle" (Bloomberg/Indianapolis Star, 8/24).