On Monday, the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department proposed new guidelines designed to lower the copayment for veterans purchasing prescription drugs. Following internal research, the VA found that approximately 80 percent of the veterans eligible for the rule change would save up to $5 per month's supply of a prescription. Six percent would see an increase.
Modern Healthcare reported that the proposal is a part of the larger wave of heated discussion concerning prescription drug prices that has swept across the country. Poll after poll has confirmed skyrocketing prescription costs as one of the average American's biggest concerns. Some presidential candidates have gained serious ground by focusing on the problem in their stump speeches.
In the VA's current procedure, the drug copay for non-exempt veterans is $8 to $9 for each month-long prescription. If the new rules are instituted, future rate increases would be turned down in favor of a new, three-tiered system that would categorize the drugs based on the amount of their copay costs. Tier 1, under which the majority of all medications would fall, would cost $5. Tier 2, meanwhile, would cost $8, and Tier 3 $11. According to DisabledVeterans.org, all veterans who are currently exempt would remain so.
Under the revamped guidelines, which would officially go into effect Jan. 1, 2017, a copay cap of $700 would be instituted. That is a big drop from the current $960 cap. Modern Healthcare relayed that by the VA's estimates, the amount of veterans saving from the cap would jump from a meager 2 percent to 9 percent.
Veterans advocacy organizations like the American Legion have yet to announce an opinion on the proposed changes, citing a lack of information. As a significant shift in the way veterans benefits are put to use, the groups will meet to discuss the new guidelines shortly.