@Michel, A story to illustrate some things I’ve learned along the way… I’ve been insured with high deductible coverage since 2008. In that first year, I had an ER visit, hospitalization, a few MRIs, etc. Long story short, I reached my deductible and out of pocket maximum. This being the case, when I needed test strips, I picked up the ReliOn Ultima (IIRC) test strips, and found out they weren’t on the formulary, so no coverage at all. However, OneTouch test strips were covered in full, being on the formulary.
I contacted my insurer, Medica, to ask why on earth they wouldn’t have the cheapest meter in existence on the formulary… I thought the HDHP was all about “shopping around” and “being smart consumers” ??? They wrote a nice flowery letter talking about how their drug formulary is the “cornerstone of their cost management approach” or some slogan such as that. It made no sense to me…how could they control costs paying 3-4x for a product?? I suspected there must be some kickbacks involved, so I started reading on the web, learning about PBMs and the pricing game (not much written then). I also contacted ReliOn to let them know they weren’t on the formulary. It turns out, they don’t play the insurance game, and so, the price of their products are close to real market value. OneTouch pricing presumably had enough “spread” to play the rebates and kickbacks game.
In 2017, I applied to be a member of the class of the suit mentioned above, due to my disgust at the pricing games. I am a proponent of the free market, but this doesn’t look like free markets to me, at all.
For additional references, I’d read the complaint documents hosted on Hagen Bermans website, in the link I posted above. These are obviously biased documents, but they offer a good picture of how the game works.
@Katers87, agreed. However, with the copay plans, the costs are included in higher premium costs, for employers for sure, and often for employees as well.