Skip to main content

UnitedHealth will no longer keep discounts it gets from drug companies

It'll benefit 7 million Americans on fully-insured plans.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

What's happening?

UnitedHealthcare has announced that it will no longer keep the discounts it gets on medical drugs from pharmaceutical companies, and will instead pass on the savings to customers.

The Fortune 500 company based in Minnetonka, which is Minnesota's most valuable company, made the announcement on Wednesday, saying it will benefit 7 million Americans.

The New York Times reports it comes amid "growing frustration" from consumers over drug prices.

Now that UnitedHealth, America's biggest health insurer, is taking this step, expect others to follow.

What is it doing and who will benefit?

The company says that the discounts will apply to 7 million people working for employers who offer UnitedHealthCare's fully-insured commercial group health plan.

It will mean these plan-holders will pay less out-of-pocket when they fill a prescription at their local pharmacy or online.

The savings will vary depending on the plan-holder, but president Dan Schumacher said it could range "from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars to over a thousand."

It won't necessarily cover all medications though, only drugs where UnitedHealth currently gets a discount from its suppliers.

The New York Times notes that drugs like Humira and Enbrel, which treat rheumatoid arthritis, are among those that are heavily discounted, while medicines for rarer conditions – where there's little competition between drug makers – have smaller or even no discounts.

According to the Washington Post, the move will most likely benefit those in high-deductible plans who take "expensive, brand-name drugs."

The discounts will be applied from Jan. 1, 2019, with plan-holders able to check the amount of the rebate they'll be getting by visiting or using the UHC mobile app.

Next Up


Firefighters respond to smoke-filled cabin to find man asleep inside

A wood stove was determined to be the cause of the smoke.

snow plow msp airport

MSP snowplow drivers reach contract agreement after threatening strike

Teamsters Local 320 reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Airports Commission Saturday.

Kellen Moore

What you should know about the Vikings' head coach candidates

Seven candidates were revealed on Saturday morning.

20211010_Vikings_Lions_REG05_1119 (2)

What is the next Minnesota Vikings GM inheriting?

A look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings' roster and situation


Man dies after being 'punched in the head' during altercation in Duluth

A 46-year-old man is in custody and facing 1st-degree manslaughter charges.

Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders says Zimmer, Spielman hadn't spoken 'in months'

Sanders' comments revealed some of the Vikings' issues last season.

police tape, crime scene

Brooklyn Park man pleads guilty in 2020 fatal drive-by shooting

Devon Manley will be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years.

Screen Shot 2020-06-16 at 7.48.35 AM

Man gets 10 years for fatal pawn shop fire during Minneapolis riots

The incident, which took place during riots in May 2020,  resulted in one man's death.

Rep. Ilhan Omar

Election officials dismiss conservative group's complaint against Rep. Ilhan Omar

The group alleged that she used campaign funds on her future husband's consulting firm.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 9.53.04 AM

Reports: 6 names surface in Vikings' search for new head coach

Six names have surfaced Saturday in the Minnesota Vikings' hunt for a new head coach.



UnitedHealthcare to offer drug discount rebates to more plan-holders

It launched the program last year, but will now make it available to more customers.

UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group posts quarterly profits of $4.1 billion

The Minnetonka-based health insurance giant is Minnesota's biggest company.

3 Minnesota companies make Fortune's Top 50 'Most Admired' list

Seven more companies received honorable mentions as industry leaders.