Big Data

Want To Pay Less for Drugs Under Medicare?

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If you’ve ever tried to help an elderly relative find the most affordable Medicare plan, you know how difficult it is to estimate the cost of prescription medications under those plans. One company is trying to change that. The company, iMedicare, crunches through reams of Medicare and drug pricing data to help seniors choose Medicare plans based on the lowest out-of-pocket drug costs.

Founders Flaviu Simihaian and Matthew Johnson are marketing iMedicare to independent pharmacists who frequently help seniors suss out the best Medicare and Medicare Part D plans but rarely have enough information to do it proficiently.

Nextgov profiled iMedicare for our Government Data Unbound series, which explores how companies and nonprofits are helping turn open government data into a multi-billion dollar industry.

While the White House is pushing agencies to make data available in machine readable formats, Simihaian is more concerned about getting Medicare data at all, he said.

Specifically, if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the amount of money insurance companies reimburse pharmacies for particular drugs, he said, iMedicare would not have to rely on third-party estimates for that data and could produce better results.

“If I had to choose how they spend their resources,” Simihaian said, “I’d much prefer they focus on vetting and releasing more data than on making the current data more searchable.”

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// November 26
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