VA proposes drug copay change it says would save most veterans money



By Shannon Muchmore

The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department on Monday announced new proposed guidelines (PDF) meant to lower the copay for veterans buying prescription drugs.

The VA estimates about 80% of eligible veterans would save between $1 and $5 per month’s supply of a prescription under the new guidelines and 6% would see an increase.

The proposed rule comes at a time of intense discussion concerning prescription drug prices. Polls have shown rising costs as a chief concern for Americans and 2016 presidential candidates have stumped on the issue.

The proposed guidelines would eliminate the current procedure, which charges $8 or $9 for a 30-day supply of a drug. That price increases based on the Medical Consumer Price Index, although the VA has frozen copays every year since 2009.

It would be replaced with a system involving three tiers. Generic medications would fall hire vetsunder tier one, with a copay of $5, and tier two, with a copay of $8. Third tier medications would include brand name drugs still under patent protection and would have a copay of $11.

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