Posts Tagged - ‘prescription drugs’

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Some Health Insurers Don’t Cover Oral Cancer Drugs

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Image: CarbonNYC under CC 3.0

Battling cancer is hard enough, but when your health insurance plan refuses to pay for a more convenient and less daunting treatment, it’s even worse. Although “chemo parity” laws are pending in several states as well as Congress, there is still a lot to be done.

Many health insurance companies will not cover oral chemotherapy drugs that may cost up to $4,000 per pill, since less expensive IV treatments are available. The latter require more of the patient’s time, transportation, and have more side effects. They are also susceptible to leaks and other problems that cause emergency room visits!

Why does this happen? Oral cancer drugs are often classified as prescription medication benefits, which tend to be far less generous than medical benefits (such as intravenous surgery). For their part, health insurance providers blame Big Pharma for putting such a high price tag on the pills to begin with. Pharmaceutical companies, on the other hand, claim that the high prices are necessary to recoup their research and development costs.

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3 Ways To Save Money On Health Insurance Drug Coverage

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Image: Mr. T in DC under CC 3.0

Several bad habits related to prescription medications cost health insurance plan providers over $160 billion annually. That cost is passed onto consumers through higher premiums.

How can you reduce this expense? Here are three ways:

  1. Thinking twice about brand loyalty. In most cases, a generic medication is just as effective as the brand-name version–for a fraction of the cost. Of course, speak with your doctor first, but switching could save the American healthcare system $51 billion each year.
  2. Remembering to take your prescriptions every day as directed, even on the weekends! It’s estimated that skipping doses costs health insurers $106 billion annually, due to the complications in chronic conditions that often result.
  3. Getting your prescriptions through home delivery, instead of the drugstore pharmacy. Doing so makes it less likely that you’ll forget to get a timely refill, and could save $6 billion.

Taking these steps should help bring about more affordable health insurance.

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Health Insurance Reform Drug Lobbyist Jumps Sinking Ship

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

(Image: cliff1066 under CC 2.0)

Recently, PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America) CEO and President Billy Tauzin announced that he is going to quit his job. What does that mean for healthcare reform? Well, PhRMA is the largest lobbying group for the prescription drug industry. The cost of health insurance is driven up partially by the high cost of brand name drugs.

The Obama administration’s healthcare reform efforts will probably suffer even more with Tauzin’s resignation. Big Pharma was one of the key early supporters of the Democratic legislation, in somewhat of a surprise. PhRMA, whose members include major drug companies like Merck and Pfizer, agreed to $80 billion worth of discounts on their products over the next decade–in exchange for potential access to millions of potential consumers who would then have affordable health insurance.

Such back-room dealings prior to Congress beginning its negotiations last year were controversial. Politicians in both parties were skeptical of getting in bed with the industry, and the $26 million the lobbying group spent last year appears to have been for naught. There are rumors that Tauzin (a former Congressman with bipartisan connections) was forced out due to his political miscalculation. Any scaled back medical insurance legislation that may pass now will have less in it for the drug companies, but may still expect their concessions.

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