For the first time ever, the State of Maryland is going to provide retirees a different--and much more costly--prescription drug plan than employees, effective July 1, 2011. The State's description of the new plan can be found at http://dbm.maryland.gov/agencies/operbudget/Documents/2012/RXChangesFactSheet011811final.pdf. Basically, instead of the current co-pay per prescription, typically $30 for a 90 day supply, the new plan will impose a $310 per person deductible and a 25% (percent, not dollar) co-pay on the excess (up to a maximum of $4550, per person). How much this will increase your prescription costs depends on the number of prescriptions you have and the cost of each. You can check now with your pharmacy and learn the full retail cost of each of your prescriptions and then do the math to compute your new costs.
Here are 3 illustrations that may be helpful. If you are fortunate enough to have only 1 prescription with a retail cost of $500 for a 90 day supply, your annual cost will increase from $120 ($30 x 4) to $732 ($310 copay plus 25% of $2000 minus $310). In the more likely scenario of a family having 5 prescriptions (some for each spouse), averaging the same $500 for a 90 day supply, your annual cost will increase from $600 ($30 x 5 x 4) to $2965 ($620 copays, plus 25% of $10,000 minus $620). In addition, many prescriptions retail for far more than $500. The retail cost of a commonly prescribed drug for post-menopausal breast cancer survivors is $1900 for a 90 day supply. For that prescription alone, the annual cost to a retiree will increase from $120 ($30 x 4) to $2132 ($310 copay plus 25% of $7600 minus $310), an increase of OVER $2000, more than 18 times as high.
Legislation is needed to accomplish this change, and the Governor has already introduced it, in both houses of the Legislature, as part of the BRFA (Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2011), Senate Bill 87 and House Bill 72. While there is much uncertainty these days, one thing is certain: this change will take place unless retirees rise up and stop it. No one else is fighting this battle for us.
What should you do? Immediately, call and/or write to your state senator and delegates urging that this change be stopped. Call and/or write to the Governor. Contact as many retirees as you know urging them to do the same thing. There is no time to waste. If not stopped, this will cause real pain to retirees. It is up to us to do all we can to stop it.