Private insurance companies that deliver the Medicare prescription benefit say the problem is that drug makers charge too much for the medications, some of which were developed from taxpayer-funded research. The pharmaceutical industry faults insurers, saying copayments on drugs are higher than cost-sharing for other medical services, such as hospital care.
Others blame the design of the Medicare prescription benefit itself, because it allows insurers to put expensive drugs on a so-called "specialty tier" with copayments equivalent to 25 percent or more of the cost of the medication.
Drugs for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C also wind up on specialty tiers, along with the new anti-cancer pills. Medicare supplemental insurance — Medigap — doesn't cover those copayments. Read More
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