UnitedHealthcare is launching BrandsPlus Rx, a new cost-effective pharmacy benefit plan that enables small businesses to offer their employees prescription drug coverage that includes high-cost brand-name medications.

The BrandsPlus Rx plan helps to bridge coverage gaps by focusing on high-cost brand-name and specialty drugs for which there is no equally effective generic equivalent, and which may be out of reach financially for some employees. These include medicines to treat asthma, diabetes, and other serious conditions including HIV, hepatitis C and multiple sclerosis.

In addition, BrandsPlus Rx helps to make prescription drug coverage affordable by encouraging health plan customers to use, low-cost options and generic medicines through ‘$4 generic programs’ offered by retail pharmacies.

According to UnitedHealthcare, the new plan costs employers about half of its pharmacy benefit plan for small businesses, and is price-efficient. The new plan is now available to small businesses in Arizona, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

BrandsPlus Rx features a four-tier copayment structure to help plan participants choose prescription drugs that are cost-effective, and provides financial incentives for people who choose medicines that offer similar results at affordable prices.

Tim Heady, CEO of UnitedHealth Pharmaceutical Solutions, said: “We created BrandsPlus Rx to help small businesses get the most out of their health insurance investment, while providing the security of pharmacy benefit insurance to their employees.

BrandsPlus Rx is our solution that allows employers to offer their employees more affordable, broader prescription-drug coverage.