We are a capitalist society, so this should not surprise anyone. This is not new news as we already have read that CVS has agreed to buy Aetna last December.
Cigna is one of the country’s largest health insurers, and Express Scripts is one of America’s biggest pharmacy prescription providers, which administer drug plans for more than 266 million Americans with employer health plans and government health insurance plans. Government, meaning Medicare.
If this merger does happen, it would be the latest one to throw a curveball at the Medicare health and Part D program. It’s no secret that the current administration has pointed out that there has been heavy pressure to reduce drug costs which since the birth of the Part D program has spiraled out of control.
As BGA Insurance agents, we see this problem everyday and it’s really been costly for our seniors and continues to be a burden on their retirement planning. Personally speaking, I’ve never been an advocate for our governments role in our healthcare but being that they do operate the Medicare program they must do a better job getting involved and putting pressure on the drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefits managers.
Yes, they are doing a better job over the last few years reducing the donut-hole, but it hasn’t nearly been enough in my opinion. Ask any senior if they ever had to lay out money for a 30-day supply for a brand name drug. Most brands run in the hundreds for a just a 30-day supply and have seen numerous scripts cost thousands.
Seriously, how can some seniors afford to retire? I know I’m getting off the main subject here and going off on a rant, but we see it day in and day out and its heartbreaking to witness.
If this merger does happen it could give Cigna more control over drug prices which would cause quite a stir for major insurers. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Hey, United Healthcare already has been administering its own drug plan called “OptumRx”.
We already sense that the federal government is not rallying around these mergers as a federal judge blocked the $54 billion merger of Cigna and Anthem last year.
So, you ask, “how are these mergers going to affect me and my healthcare costs?” Right now, we don’t know. But what I do know is that the BGA agent will always bring you the latest information and updates as they occur. The BGA agent will always keep up on continuing education, we are required to by state law.
Every day while sitting down with potential clients, the majority of our time will always be spent on prescription costs and the Part D drug plans. I have clients who are lawyers who spend hours reading and writing important documents for a living who can’t wrap their heads around this.
When I wrap up a meeting with a senior or seniors I always reiterate to always call or email me every October before the AEP (Annual Enrollment Period).
Why? Because I want to make sure you are getting the best pricing for your prescription costs because they are constantly changing on a yearly basis. It’s just not me, this is the service that every BGA agent provides their clients with. I push this point because don’t do it alone, lean on our educated expertise, it’s what we’re here for. Not only that, it won’t cost you a dime, it’s a free service.
Let BGA Insurance be your advocacy group.
Joe Bachmeier is a co-founder of BGA Insurance Group