Utah will pay for public employees to go fill prescriptions in Mexico

The Utah insurer PEHP, which covers 160,000 public employees and family members, is offering plane tickets to San Diego, transportation to Tijuana, and a $500 cash payout to patients who need certain expensive drugs for multiple sclerosis, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. "That money is pretty small in comparison to the difference between U.S.

The Utah insurer PEHP, which covers 160,000 public employees and family members, is offering plane tickets to San Diego, transportation to Tijuana, and a $500 cash payout to patients who need certain expensive drugs for multiple sclerosis, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. "That money is pretty small in comparison to the difference between U.S. prices and Mexico prices," said Travis Tolley, clinical operations director for PEHP. The insurer unveiled its "pharmacy tourism" option this fall in response to state legislation requiring state employees' insurance plans to offer cash incentives to patients who choose cheaper providers. "Why wouldn't we pay $300 to go to San Diego, drive across to Mexico, and save the system tens of thousands of dollars?" asked state Rep. Norman Thurston (R-Provo), who sponsored the legislation calling for incentives. "If it can be done safely, we should be all over that." Patients who participate will fly to San Diego, be driven through a priority lane at the border crossing and arrive at a clinic, which PEHP director Chet Loftis described as "top-notch," comparable to a Mayo or Cleveland clinic in the United States.