March 12 (Reuters) - UnitedHealth Group Inc said on Tuesday it would expand from January 2020 its point-of-sale discount program to all new employer-sponsored plans in an effort to make drugs more affordable for patients. The insurer also said that existing members would have the choice of adopting this plan during contract renewal.
In recent years, insurers have tried to guide patients toward less expensive treatments by making them pay a higher portion of a drug's costs.
Drugmakers have responded by dramatically raising the financial aid by increasingly offering the so-called 'copay assistance' cards, similar to a debit card, that consumers can use at the pharmacy counter to reduce their out-of-pocket costs.
UnitedHealth's move builds on the existing discount programs that were announced a year ago, which the company said will serve more than 9 million consumers this year.
Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur