Letter to the Editor: Eliminating ‘clawbacks’ is good for Delaware

Delaware currently allows insurers to charge a copay higher than the cost of a prescription, forcing residents to pay more out of pocket at the pharmacy, but hopefully not for long.

This practice is known as a “clawback,” and my bill to prohibit them just passed the House.

Last session, I sponsored legislation that removed a “gag clause,” which prevented pharmacists from disclosing cost-saving options. The next step is to prohibit clawbacks.

The average overpayment is almost $8 per prescription. This means that Delawareans could be saving an average of $8 every time they pick up a prescription from the pharmacy, instead of giving it back to the insurance company.

Rep. Andria Bennett

Rep. Andria Bennett

For some, this may not seem like a high price to pay for medication. However, for a consumer treating a chronic illness, or someone living paycheck to paycheck, the costs add up. This could be the difference between paying rent or buying groceries and picking up live-saving medication.

The harm done to Delawareans is furthered with data showing that generic drugs were more likely to cost less than a copay. The people who are trying to save the most on healthcare by using generic options are disproportionately impacted by this practice. Nearly one in four prescriptions cost less than the insurer’s copay. When the clawback cost compounds over a state’s economy, the issue becomes clearer and harder to ignore.

The United States already has one of the highest costs of health care relative to services provided worldwide, and this is one small step that will help Delawareans across the state. In 2014, Delaware was ranked fourth in healthcare spending per capita in a nation that spends almost twice as much per capita on healthcare than the average industrialized country. HB 24 is one way we can begin to remedy the situation.

The purpose of health insurance is to lower the cost of healthcare, and the fact that clawbacks exist further deteriorates the public trust and our ability to provide affordable healthcare.

When we put the residents of Delaware first, they lead better more productive lives, and as a result, our state thrives.

Rep. Andria Bennett

D-Dover

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