Tag: healthcare costs

Out-of-Pocket Costs on the Rise

NeedyMeds’ mission has always been to help patients find help covering the costs of health care expenses. A previous guest post from Consumer Reports outlined the problem patients may face when confronted with expensive prescriptions, sometimes having to choose between needed medicine and groceries for their family.  Two recent studies show that the problem may be growing as out-of-pocket costs for health care are continuing to rise.

According to a study from TransUnion Healthcare, the consumer’s share of healthcare costs rose by 13% from 2014 to 2015. The report also shows that while costs rose, patients had fewer resources to pay for the increase expenses, as the amount of revolving credit had declined.  Out-of-pocket costs include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance.

The University of Michigan conducted a second study that calculated the average out-of-pocket expenses for an inpatient hospital stay for a patient with private insurance was more than $1000, increasing 37% from 2009 to 2013. 

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The Causes for Increased Cost of Medications

Medication prices continue to be a major concern for many Americans.  Recent months have seen a deluge of stories of drugs with $100,000+ price tags.  A 2015 poll found that a third of patients saw a price increase in their medications last year.  The problem is that these price increases have different causes, making it difficult to solve all the issues.

With advances in science we have seen development of new, highly successful drugs sometimes costing as much as $1000 per pill.  These prices are often seen as justified when researchers look at the benefits of a curative versus the potential long-term cost of living with a condition and less effective treatments.  This is frequently called “value pricing.” The companies that develop these drugs reap profits for the medications patent life (typically 7-12 years) until generic medications are able to enter the market at more affordable prices. The question that remains is whether these exceedingly high prices and several years of wait are worth some patients not being able to afford a medication that could cure them.

The problems of expensive effective brand-name drugs

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Why Drug Prices Skyrocket

Drug prices continue to be a major concern for Americans.  According to a Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll published today, 77% of those surveyed said medication costs were their number one health concern, reflecting recent headline-making increases.  Furthermore, 63% support government action to lower prescription drug costs as a top priority. Compared to a study by the same organization from August, the results are largely the same with notably increased support of government intervention.

The United States is the only developed nation that allows drug makers to set their own prices. Throughout Europe, Canada, and Australia, governments negotiate the price of drugs with pharmaceutical companies in the name of public interest.  The United Kingdom, for example, negotiates through the National Institute of Clinical Evaluation (NICE). NICE researches and analyzes new drugs, procedures, and devices and tells the manufacturers the price the UK is willing to pay. These practices make life-saving healthcare affordable to all those who need it in their countries.

In the US, pharmaceutical companies set the price

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Prescriptions or groceries?

Some Americans are making sacrifices and taking risks to afford their meds

 

Rising drug prices have become a public health crisis, forcing too many Americans into making some tough choices. In a recent Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs’ poll of 1,037 U.S. adults who currently take a prescription medication, one third said they were hit with higher drug prices at the pharmacy counter in the past year. And while the average increase was $39 extra out-of-pocket, one in 10 reported paying $100 or more over what they’d previously paid. Those higher prices led nearly 40 percent of people to take potentially harmful risks with their medication in order to curb costs, including skipping filling a prescription, skipping a dosage, cutting pills in half without a doctor or pharmacist’s OK, and even taking expired meds.

While people facing unexpected high costs were more than twice as likely to avoid seeing their doctor or forego a medical procedure than those who didn’t, the financial setbacks affected more than their health. Perhaps the most troubling cutback: A third (32 percent) of poll respondents paying higher prices said

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HEALfundr: The Power to HEAL

Even with recent legislation making health care more accessible, Americans still need help paying for medical expenses. Despite having insurance coverage, 10 million Americans faced bills they were unable to pay in 2013.

When options run low and eligibility requirements for assistance can be restrictive, many are turning to online crowdfunding.

Remaining popular for creative works, crowdfunding is a tool to collect donations using the Internet towards a larger single goal. In 2012, up to 30% of all crowdfunding campaigns were for social or medically related causes. The use of social media has connected those in need with those in their own personal networks and beyond that are able to help.

Earlier this year, NeedyMeds launched HEALfundr to take what we saw as the next logical step in medical crowdfunding. Our unique vision is one of secure, verified campaigns that take the hassle and stress of coordinating between incoming donations and outgoing bills as well granting donors the confidence their contribution is going to an essential need.

The only eligibility requirements of HEALfundr are that you have legitimate medical expenses

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About Us

Welcome to the NeedyMeds Voice! We look forward to presenting you with timely, provocative pieces on healthcare reform, patient advocacy, medication and healthcare access, and other health-related news. Our goals are to educate, enlighten, and elucidate; together, we will try to make sense of the myriad and ongoing healthcare-related changes in the U.S. today.