Insurer advocates pill splitting as a way to cut costs
UnitedHealthcare, the nation's second largest insurer, is giving away pill splitters and offering half-price drugs for those who split double-strength pills, cutting the patient's insurance copayment in half, according to an Associated Press report. The company is also giving advice on which drugs can be split safely.
UnitedHealthcare's chief executive Tim Heady said, "For every patient that chooses to reduce their costs by 50 percent, it would reduce ours and their employer's cost by half of the cost of that prescription as well."
Among the 15 pills the insurer recommends splitting are expensive cholesterol drugs such as Lipitor, antidepressants such as Zoloft and blood pressure pills such as Aceon and Diovan.
Seniors, with the help of doctors and pharmacists have split pills to cut costs for years, but recently insures have promoted it as studies have shown it can save massive amounts on purchasing drugs.
According to the article, the U.S. department of Veterans Affairs saved $46.5 million a year by having 1.1 million patients split the cholesterol drug Zocor, and The Regence Group, a health insurer operating in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah, saves $5 million a year through pill splitting.