Aetna to pass drug discounts on to consumers: 4 things to know

Aetna will begin directly applying pharmacy rebates to policyholders' drug purchases in 2019.

Here are four things to know about the policy change.

1. Aetna said the change, which affects fully insured commercial members, is in response to a roughly 25 percent hike in drug costs from 2012 to 2016.

"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," the insurer said.

2. Aetna predicts about 3 million members could begin seeing the rebates applied next year.

3. In addition to the rebates, Aetna implemented an out-of-pocket cap for Medicare Part D members as recommended by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

4. The announcement comes on the heels of UnitedHealth Group's move to give members pharmacy discounts when they fill prescriptions at retail pharmacies or through home delivery.

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