The best way to maximize your pharmacy benefits in the most efficient way is to use a savings account.
The Associated Press has found that many pharmacies that are required to file a financial statement with the state of Michigan are under pressure to raise prices to help keep their doors open.
While many pharmacies are able to stay open and provide excellent services, others have to close because of the growing number of people trying to shop online and save for their retirement.
“They’re doing a great job, but I think we’ve seen too many closures,” said Mike Pappalardo, executive director of the Michigan Health Access Alliance, a consumer group that promotes access to care for the elderly and disabled.
The Michigan Health Alliance, which is a trade group representing state and local health insurers, is pushing the state to require financial reporting by drugstores to help ensure the best pricing for seniors and other vulnerable customers.
The state said last month it is taking steps to close about 2,400 retail pharmacies in 2017 and 2018, including more than 100 that had to close due to financial difficulties.
About half of the 1,300 closed in 2018 and 2017, said Michael Kallman, director of state operations for the Michigan Retail Merchants Association, which represents many small retailers.
Many have experienced financial difficulties because of rising health care costs and retirements.
Kallman said the state has seen a decline in the number of elderly patients who need to be seen by health care providers because of Medicare and Medicaid.
Retail pharmacy benefit manager Michael Raley said the industry’s struggles are not unique to Michigan.
“There are many other states that have a lot of people that need help,” Raley told The Associated Press by phone.
“But the fact that the number is increasing at a pace that’s unprecedented, that is a concern.”
The Associated States Health Insurance Association said it’s also concerned about rising health costs and that the state is making a “shocking” mistake in charging so much for a single prescription.
“When you’re making a decision to cut your spending, you’re not necessarily doing it for a better outcome,” said Nancy Kopp, executive vice president of the association.
“You’re making it for an impact on your financial well-being.”
Kopp said her group will file lawsuits challenging the state’s decision to raise prescription drug prices, citing a lawsuit filed last year in U.S. District Court in Lansing by two people who say they were overcharged for their drugs.
The AP has found more than $1.3 billion in pharmacy benefit payments went unclaimed in Michigan in 2016.
That includes $1 billion in payments that could have been used for seniors, the elderly, those who need treatment for depression or diabetes, and people with mental health issues.
The pharmacy benefit office says it does not collect payment information from pharmacy benefit managers and does not track when those payments are made.
The department of health, which has been under pressure from legislators to close more than 700 retail pharmacies, said in a statement that it will begin monitoring the state savings account program to ensure it is meeting its goals.
The statement said the department is monitoring the amount of money available for savings account contributions and will use that information to ensure the program is delivering on its commitments.
“This will also help us better understand where savings account contribution money is going,” the statement said.