UnitedHealthcare ending out-of-pocket costs for emergency-use drugs

Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare is planning to get rid of out-of-pocket costs for certain emergency-use drugs, the company announced Friday.

The largest health insurer in the U.S., UnitedHealth Group said the targeted drugs include insulin, epinephrine (several allergic reactions), glucagon (hypoglycemia), naloxone (opioid overdoses) and albuterol (acute asthma attacks).

“High prices are a significant barrier to prescription drugs for many people, so we are using our unique capabilities to deliver savings for consumers,” United Healthcare CEO Brian Thompson said in a statement. “We are doing what we can to shield people from the prices set by pharmaceutical companies, and hope all stakeholders also will act to make prescription drugs more affordable.” 

The organization says it hopes the move will not only reduce the burden of medical costs for patients but encourage better medication adherence.

The change will go into effect for fully insured plans on Jan. 1, 2023.