Health

Amazon Expands Rx Pass Eligibility to Medicare Recipients

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Summary: In June 2024, Amazon announced the expansion of eligibility for its Rx Pass prescription medication program. This program will now give Medicare enrollees the ability to receive an unlimited number of eligible generic prescription medications for a $5 monthly fee. Estimated Read Time: 4 min

Table of Contents:

  1. What is Amazon Rx Pass?
  2. Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries
  3. Amazon Rx Pass Cost Savings
  4. Amazon Rx Pass Convenience
  5. How Rx Pass Affects the Prescription Drug Market

In January 2023, Amazon released a monthly generic prescription delivery service to its Amazon Prime members, called Rx Pass. Rx Pass currently offers 60+ generic prescription medications to its enrollees.

For a $5 monthly fee, members can receive their prescription medications with free shipping and 24/7 access to a licensed pharmacist. Now, in June of 2024, Amazon has announced the expansion of eligibility for Rx Pass to Medicare recipients.

What is Amazon Rx Pass?

Amazon Rx Pass is a monthly subscription service available to Amazon Prime members that provides access to affordable generic prescription medications. When unveiled, the goal of Rx Pass was to simplify the process of obtaining necessary medications for individuals on a fixed or low income. In its inaugural year, the program has done just that, and now, those services are extended to individuals enrolled in Medicare.

While Rx Pass does not cover all prescription medications, it does cover a hand full of the most regularly prescribed generic medications for a variety of diagnoses.

Eligible medications include:

  • Allopurinol
  • Amlodipine
  • Amoxicillin
  • Atorvastatin
  • Azelastine
  • Benztropine
  • Bupropion Er
  • Cephalexin
  • Cyanocobalamin
  • Cyclobenzaprine
  • Donepezil
  • Doxazosin
  • Doxycycline Hyclate
  • Dutasteride
  • Escitalopram
  • Estradiol
  • Finasteride
  • Fluticasone
  • Furosemide
  • Glipizide
  • Glyburide – Metformin
  • Hyoscyamine Disintegrating Tablets
  • Lamotrigine
  • Lisinopril
  • Losartan
  • Methimazole
  • Mometasone
  • Multivitamin With Fluoride
  • Naproxen
  • Omeprazole
  • Ondansetron Disintegrating Tab
  • Oxybutynin
  • Phenytoin
  • Pramipexole
  • Quetiapine
  • Ramipril
  • Risperidone
  • Rizatriptan
  • Rosuvastatin
  • Sertraline
  • Sildenafil
  • Sotalol
  • Tamoxifen
  • Terazosin
  • Tizanidine
  • Venlafaxine

Benefits for Medicare Beneficiaries

While Rx Pass is available for Medicare enrollees, that does not mean you should disenroll from your Medicare Part D plan. To be very clear, this program is not considered creditable coverage and will result in a late enrollment penalty if you unenroll from or delay Part D benefits.

Rx Pass, however, is aimed to work with your Part D plan to help individuals who take several generic medications each month. Rather than paying several small copays through Part D, all you are required to pay with Rx Pass is the $5 monthly fee and then your eligible medications arrive to you free of additional charge.

If your medication is not covered by Amazon Rx Pass, you will then need to utilize your Part D plan to receive your medications.

There are several benefits for both the Medicare program and enrollees when using Rx Pass. However, the most notable benefits include cost savings and convenience.

However, on the other hand, while Rx Pass offers many benefits, there are some potential challenges and considerations to keep in mind:

  • Limited Medication List: At the present time, Rx Pass only includes generic medications, which might not cover all the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, especially those requiring brand-name drugs.
  • Amazon Prime Requirement: The service is only available to Amazon Prime members, which adds an additional cost for those not already subscribed to Prime.

Amazon Rx Pass Cost Savings

One of the most significant advantages of the Amazon Rx Pass for Medicare beneficiaries is the potential cost savings associated with using the program.

With a flat fee of $5 per month, members can access over 60 generic medications. Plus, there is no cap to the number of prescriptions you can fill using this program. Whether you fill 1 or 10 prescriptions, you are only required to pay the monthly membership fee. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals on multiple medications, as it simplifies budgeting for prescription costs.

Rather than paying multiple copayments that can average from $2-$10 per generic medication depending on the pharmacy you use and the Part D plan you are enrolled in, you can instead pay one consistent monthly rate of $5. If you receive at least one medication through Rx Pass each year, it is projected that you could save up to $70 out-of-pocket. That number increases the more medications you receive.

The program also is intended to help reduce Medicare spending. If all Medicare enrollees began using Rx Pass for their eligible medications, Medicare spending would reduce by nearly $2 billion dollars. This would allow for potentially lower Medicare costs and result in higher margins for the Medicare program.

Amazon Rx Pass Convenience

Rx Pass was designed around convenience. Not only are the prices low, but the medications are easy to obtain. The program provides the convenience of home delivery with free shipping, eliminating the need for trips to the pharmacy.

In addition to easy medication delivery, members also have 24/7 access to a licensed pharmacist. This ensures you receive professional advice whenever and wherever needed.

Individuals who are bed bound, have limited mobility, or wish to stay home to reduce the risk of falls or avoidable injuries may have opted out of Medication in the past due to their inability to go to the pharmacy or leave their home. Now, these individuals can have access to the medication they need and can benefit greatly from this program.

How Rx Pass Affects the Prescription Drug Market

The introduction of Rx Pass places competitive pressure on traditional pharmacies and other prescription delivery services. This competition could lead to more affordable options and better services across the industry, benefiting all consumers, including Medicare beneficiaries.

This type of pressure is a step in the right direction for individuals who rely on prescription medications to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, if Amazon Rx Pass leads to better medication availability this could lead to better health outcomes, resulting in fewer hospitalizations and medical interventions due to unmanaged conditions. This, chain reaction could result in lower overall healthcare costs, keeping more money in your pocket each month.

Overall, Amazon Rx Pass represents a significant innovation in the delivery and cost of prescription medications. For Medicare beneficiaries, the potential cost savings, convenience, and improved medication availability are substantial benefits.

As the service evolves, it will be interesting to see how it impacts the healthcare market and the lives of those who rely on Medicare for their prescription needs.

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