According to Alabama State Health Officer Don Williamson the Alabama Medicaid Agency will stop paying for most over-the-counter drugs for its clients, effective October 1st of this year.
That change, according to Williamson, was largely due to the state’s reliance on generic drugs for Medicaid customers. 87% of Medicaid prescriptions in Alabama are filled with generics.
Beginning in January the state of Alabama will be limiting Medicaid patients to four brand-name prescription drugs, rather than the five currently permitted; that change is expected to save some $2.9 million a year; ending the Medicaid payments for over-the-counter drugs is expected to save another $3.6 million per year.
Williamson said that although there was some discussion on the matter, even after those over-the counter payments have ended, insulin will still be covered.
Jim Carnes, a spokesperson for the group Alabama Arise, said he wasn’t sure what effect that the over-the-counter change would have on customers whereas Williamson likened it to the situation for those who have private insurance – but still have to pay for the over-the-counters out of their own pocket.