NU Online News Service, June 19, 10:45 a.m. – Health Industries Research Companies, Santa Cruz, Calif., says health maintenance organizations are rapidly adopting the “three-tier copay” system for encouraging HMO members to use generic drugs and brand-name drugs on the HMOs’ preferred drug lists.
Three-tier copay programs now cover about 35% of HMO members, Health Industries says.
The proportion will rise to more than 47% of all beneficiaries by year-end 2002, Health Industries predicts.
HMOs and other health plans that use three-tier copay programs usually charge low out-of-pocket fees for members who buy generic drugs; slightly higher fees for members who buy brand-name drugs on the preferred drug lists; and high fees for members who buy brand-name drugs that are not on the preferred drug lists.
Copay levels have increased steadily in most sectors during the last year.