Employers may end up the unintended victors in a potential prescription-drug price war in Florida. When Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, announced recently that it would sell generic drugs for just $4 per prescription, it didn't take long for Target, the second-largest retailer, to follow suit. These may be the first volleys in a new price war that will benefit employers as well as workers.
Wal-Mart rolled out the program in Florida first and expects to take it nationwide in January. Its bargain prescription price will apply to a 30-day supply of 150 generic drugs, regardless of their cost.
Both uninsured and insured customers will pay the lower price. As a result, many employees may pay less than the $10 or $15 co-pays commonly charged now. For the costliest drugs on the list, health insurers may end up paying nothing and passing those savings on to employers through slower rate hikes or even reduced premiums.