Two of our plans, WiseEssentials Rx and WiseAdvantage, currently offer generic-only prescription drug coverage. We have been selling these plans for a number of years and we know that they are popular with our members.
WiseEssentials Rx is currently the only individual plan available in Washington that combines the lower monthly rates of a catastrophic plan with the added benefit of generic-only drug coverage. This is far and away our most popular plan, with over 45,000 members since we started selling it in late 2009. Other plans of this kind in Washington have no drug coverage at all.
The plans were previously accepted by The Office of Insurance Commissioner (OIC), which regulates health plans in the state. However the OIC recently decided that effective August 2012 they will no longer allow any health plans in Washington to offer generic-only drug coverage.
We are disappointed that the OIC has chosen to remove this popular option from the marketplace. Feedback from our members indicates they appreciate an affordable coverage option that includes some level of pharmacy benefits when few plans give them that option.
What Does this Mean for WiseEssentials Rx Members?
Our WiseEssentials Rx plan will no longer be available after July. Adding brand-name drug coverage to this plan would have resulted in a substantial rate increase and we decided that this is a choice our members should be able to make themselves.
If you are a member of this plan you will have the option to move to any of our other plans without having to undergo any kind of health screening. You can select a plan that has both brand and generic drug coverage or one that has no drug coverage. If you are a member of this plan you will receive a letter in the mail soon outlining your options in more detail.
How Will this Affect Other LifeWise Plans?
Our WiseAdvantage plan will continue to be available and we will include both brand-name and generic drug coverage starting August 1. We will write to members of this plan soon with more information.
Other plans, including WiseEssentials 25 and WiseEssentials Copay, are not affected by this change. LifeWise members who do not have drug coverage will still benefit from our discount pharmacy program which gives them savings of up to 18% on brand name drugs and up to 50% on generic drugs.