As medications become available in over-the-counter forms, such as Allegra (fexofenadine), Claritin (loratidine) and Zyrtec (ceterizine), the insurance plans no longer cover them, and members must purchase these out-of-pocket at the pharmacy or store without a prescription. This requirement has existed for years and serves to save the plans money, which in turn helps to keep premium increases to as low of a percentage as possible.
The plan benefits are not decreasing; it is impossible for the insurance plans to continue to cover every single drug once it loses its patent and becomes available over the counter. If the plans continued to cover those medications indefinitely, the increase in premiums would be much higher than employee groups and employees see each year. The plans still serve their intended function to protect plan members and employees against catastrophic loss in the event of a major health issue.