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Aetna to provide pharmacy rebates at time of sale, encourages transparency from drug manufacturers

March 27, 2018 | Health Insurance

HARTFORD, Conn. — Beginning in 2019, Aetna will automatically apply pharmacy rebates at the time of sale for its Commercial fully insured plan members. While the majority of rebates have always been passed on to plan sponsors and their employees through lower premiums, Aetna believes that greater transparency is needed throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain in response to the nearly 25 percent increase in drug prices between 2012 and 2016.

"We have always believed that consumers should benefit from discounts and rebates that we negotiate with drug manufacturers," said Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO. "Going forward, we hope this additional transparency will encourage these companies to rationalize their pricing and end the practice of annual double-digit price increases."

An estimated 3 million Aetna members could potentially benefit from these rebates when filling prescriptions.

As another example of its commitment to transparency, Aetna has reiterated its support for holistic improvements to Medicare Part D, including adding a true out-of-pocket cap for consumers as recommended by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. In addition, Aetna continues to support eliminating "gag clauses" that prohibit pharmacists from telling customers that paying cash for prescription drugs may be cheaper than using their health insurance. The company does not require these clauses in contracts with pharmacists, and is encouraged by pending and recently passed legislation aimed at ending this practice.

"Additional reforms are needed to bring down rising drug prices that are driving increased spending across the health care system," Bertolini continued. "Payers are required to spend the vast majority of premium dollars on medical costs, not overhead or profits. Drug manufacturers should be held to the same high standards."

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 37.9 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, and behavioral health plans, medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see

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