Split Pills, Save Costs in Colorado

Some Colorado health insurers suggest that patients consider splitting pills in an effort to reduce health care costs, while other insurers are worried about the liabilities and safety associated with such measures, the Denver Post reports. Patients whose doctors prescribe a higher-dose pill often can save money. For example, a 30-day supply of a 40-milligram pill costs about the same as a 30-day supply of 20-milligram pills. Doctors are supposed to write such prescriptions only for pills that can be split safely, the Post reports.

In Colorado, United Healthcare has started telling patients taking certain medications that they can split their pills and also offers them a pill splitter at no cost. Cigna HealthCare, however, does not support splitting pills, citing a study that even pharmacists were able to properly split pills only 32 percent of the time. Members of Kaiser Permanente Colorado pay the same amount for whole pills or for ones that can be split in half.

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3 Responses to “Split Pills, Save Costs in Colorado”

  1. BLR says:

    This is a wonderful idea that in this economic time could be financially appealing to many on long-term medications that can be safely split. For those ‘older’ individuals, who would fall into this category, but by virtue of other disease processes might have a difficult time in cutting their pills, can a provision be made where on a case-by-case basis that the pharmacist or the trained staff cut the pills for them? It is done often in the vetrinary world. Think of how much this would help out a large percent of the population!

  2. Suzanne says:

    This is a good idea BUT NOT FOR THE ELDERLY. My father lived alone up until age 89, was able to drive, etc. But splitting pills was a real problem, even with a pill splitter. For the elderly, the correct dosage without having to split pills, along with clear, concise instructions saves money in the long run. Overdosing or underdosing ends up costing dollars in the form of hospitalizations or increased office visits.

  3. Marilyn says:

    As long as patient co-pays and charges are tied to a 30 to 90 day supply, the ability to get a supply of pills that can be split and made to go for 60 or 180 days farther for the same money is likely to encourage the practice. Since we are charged by the pill (ostensibly from the drug companies) then the whole issue of charging by what a patient really needs instead of what the drug company really needs will have to be dealt with by the drug companies first. Until they find a way to be more equitable in their pricing regardless of the strengths of the drugs, then people are going to split pills and save money when they can (sometimes even if they can’t do it safely). The idea of allowing pharmacists to split pills for older patients is not a bad one, but what pharmacist is going to take the chance of a negative outcome to be helpful? If I were a pharmacist, I would think twice.

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