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More prescriptions being abandoned at the pharmacy counter Posted: October 11th, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

As health insurance companies seek to contain costs, they may be taking a closer look at who is eligible to fill brand name prescriptions. For those who do receive authorization, increasing co-payments are prompting many patients to abandon prescriptions at pharmacy windows. Those are the findings from a data review performed by Wolters Kluwer Pharma Solutions.

The health care data business has been tracking prescription trends for the last four years. The group collects its data from approximately 24,000 independent and chain pharmacies, and the 80 million claims reviewed represent 40 percent of the total prescription market.

With co-payments increasing 17.4 percent from 2006-2009, consumers are increasingly walking away from their prescriptions. In 2009, 6.33 percent of new prescription claims in commercial health plans were abandoned. That's up from 5.09 percent in 2008. Abandonment of refills also increased 2.41 percent to 2.56 percent from 2008 to 2009. The patient abandonment rate has increased nearly 68 percent since 2006.

Likewise, more health plans are denying claims for name brand prescriptions. The payer denial rate has jumped 22.5 percent since 2006. The states with the highest rates of denials are:

  • California
  • Montana
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii

The national plan denial rate is 10.3 percent, and the states above have rates more than 2 percent greater than the national average.