Drug Benefits Generating Fierce Debate in Milwaukee

By Staff Report

Jul. 29, 2004

A proposal to save about $120,000 by encouraging some city employees to use generic drugs instead of name-brand drugs is causing an intense debate in the city of Milwaukee.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, what’s causing so much consternation is that the benefits change would only apply to managerial employees. Many city employees are union members, and the union doesn’t want to change the current benefits outlined in its contract. Milwaukee Alderman Jim Bohl is arguing that the city could save a lot more money if union members also ponied up some more money for prescriptions. According to the Journal Sentinel, Bohl ripped into city benefits manager Mike Brady for not consulting enough with aldermen when crafting the proposal.

Right now, managers who are in the Milwaukee health plan have a $4 co-pay for each generic drug prescription and an $8 co-pay for name-brand drugs.

The new proposal would work on a percentage basis. Managers would pay 20 percent of the cost and the city would pay the other 80 percent, according to the Journal Sentinel. A $15 generic drug, for example, would cost a manager $3, and a $90 name-brand drug would require a $18 co-pay.

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