Amazon Pharmacy partnered with five Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurers and their pharmacy benefit manager to integrate its drug discount card into their healthcare coverage, the company announced on Tuesday.
Individuals who receive health insurance through Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Florida Blue and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas will now be able to choose whether they would like to pay for medications through their drug formulary—with prices negotiated by their pharmacy benefit manager, Prime Therapeutics—or pay with the MedsYourWay drug discount card. MedsYourWay is administered by InsideRx and helps consumers access the cash price for a drug, which participating Blues plans say can be up to 80% cheaper than the price negotiated by their PBM.
Unlike most drug discount card programs, patients who use MedsYourWay will be able to apply the out-of-pocket cost paid to their co-pays and deductibles. By allowing individuals to compare prices, Amazon Pharmacy aims to cut healthcare costs, said Dr. Nworah Ayogu, chief medical officer at the e-commerce company.
"Rather than a discount card being an alternative to their benefit, it is actually now complementary to their benefits," Ayogu said. "We're excited that Prime is saying, 'We want what's easiest and best for the customer and lowest cost for the customer whether that is on benefit or not.' We like that they're willing to take that customer-centric model."
Health plans will roll this benefit out broadly across their membership, although Ayogu said he was not sure if it would be available among each insurers' line of business.
Horizon said it will be available to their commercial and Medicare enrollees starting March 1, and will help cut the nearly 20 cents of every dollar that drug costs account for in members premiums. BCBS Nebraska rolled it out for their members in January.
Amazon Pharmacy declined to comment on the financial terms of the partnerships with either Prime Therapeutics or the five Blues plans.
Going forward, the e-commerce pharmacy aims to partner with other insurers and PBMs.
"We are open," Ayogu said. "If there are other insurers out there who want to work with us to drive a better customer experience through this program, a similar program or a completely different program, we're open. We are here to work to make the pharmacy experience better, and we want to work with partners who want to do that as well."