Prescription medications can be a major health expense for many people. Especially when drug prices keep rising.
And when people can’t afford health-promoting medicine, they may skip doses or stop treatment altogether.
According to new research, the list price of prescription medications has increased 9% per year over the past decade.
While some health insurance plans protect their members from drug price hikes, many don’t. People who have plans with coinsurance or a deductible for prescriptions, for example, often take a hit when prices go up.
Coinsurance is the percentage of the costs you’ll pay for covered services once you’ve paid your deductible. If drug prices increase, chances are your coinsurance will too.
Meanwhile, a deductible is an amount you pay before your insurance plan pitches in to help. Again, if prices go up, your deductible will probably follow.
After analyzing a national database that included 30 million insured Americans, researchers found that those with coinsurance and deductibles saw their out-of-pocket expenses increase 15% over two years. That increase correlated with rising drug prices.
High drug prices may also get folded into your monthly insurance payments.
Struggling to afford your medication? You have options:
- Find out if you qualify for any assistance programs that help pay for medications
- Look into using mail-order pharmacies
- Talk to your doctor about switching to generics or other lower-cost prescription options
- Explore insurance plans to see if you qualify for one with lower drug costs (Medicare offers drug plans, for example)