Chronically ill facing high drugs costs under U.S. health law - (Chicago Tribune via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Despite the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act in 2010, some patients with chronic illnesses are facing higher up-front costs for therapy, as reported the Chicago Tribune Friday.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services said that new law caps patients' out-of-pocket expenses, while patient advocate argue that some patients can reach their caps within the first months of coverage due to increased co-insurance rates.
  • Brian Rosen, senior vice president for public policy at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, remarked: "In the past, we've seen 10 or 20 percent coinsurance rates. Now we're seeing 30, 40 and 50 percent. So patients are being asked to bear more of the cost."
  • In a study, the accounting firm Milliman identified substantially higher co-insurance rates in Texas and Florida than in New York and California.
  • A separate study by Avalere Health found that many health exchange plans required co-insurance for specialty drugs and featured high monthly premiums.
  • "These cost-sharing levels are considerably higher than the cost-sharing that is typically seen in the commercial marketplace," commented Avalere chief executive Daniel Mendelson, adding "we're at this crux where we have to ask ourselves what we want insurance to cover, what we want insurance to be."

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