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Author: AngelMay Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 19483  
Subject: More on Insurance Companies Date: 4/14/2008 9:49 AM
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Co-Payments Go Way Up for Drugs With High Prices
By GINA KOLATA
Health insurance companies are now asking patients to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for prescriptions that may save their lives.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/14/us/14drug.html?th&emc=th
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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12843 of 19483
Subject: Re: More on Insurance Companies Date: 4/14/2008 2:34 PM
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"Health insurance companies are now asking patients to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars for prescriptions that may save their lives."

Yes, there is no money fairy. In much of EU and Germany, they simply don't tell you about the 'expensive drugs'. They are not available no matter how sick you are....they won't be prescribed.

The 'people' can't afford unlimited amounts of money to keep people alive. How much is 'too much'? $10,000 a year? $100,000 a year? A million a year? Who decides?

You have a choice of car insurance. You can buy bare minimum liability insurance. If you crash your new $40,000 paid for car into a tree - well, you are out $40,000 and the owner of the tree might sue you for $5000 damages to his tree. (and win). Or you might have $25,000 insurance, but the three people you just put into permanent comas sue you for a million each against your $800,000 house equity....and you wind up eating dog food.....

YOu have a choice of home owners insurance (or not)......or hurricane or EArthquake insurance. In Cal, ofthen there is a $10,000 or $20,000 deductible on Earthquake damage...does that mean 'the people' should make whole every 'victim' of an Earthquake and rebuilt their houses? Subsidize their insurance premiums becauset 'they can't afford $10 deductible house insurance'?

You likely have $500/yr deductible on your car insurance. You pay the first $500. Each occurance. You likely have $500 or $1000 or 1% of value insurance....as a deductible - to keep prices down for the main coverage.

My health insurance is $2500 deductible and 30% co-pay......so my main policy is lower. If I wanted better coverage, I could pay for it. But what I would pay each year extra would be $1300/yr to get $1000 deductible. Go a bit more than a year, and you are ahead if you don't run up big bills.

OK...so someone has to pay $100 a month for medicine. Is that really really out of kilter? I don't think so. My one prescription is $25 for 3 months. Once or twice every two years, the doc gives me something to take for a week or two or three - maybe $2/day...so ??

I don't know where you cut off....$10,000 a month to keep someone alive at 82? $50,000 a month? Where do you stop?

My car insurance is low because I drive safely. (and don't drive in rush hour to work).

My house insurance is low because it is a low maintence low profile house of brick veneer, with a monitored alarm system. (that costs $20/month extra).

My health insurance is low because I try to take care of myself and not bring on diseases from smoking, drug use, and obesity. I can't do anything else about medical conditions. IT's also low because I assume risk in having high deductible with healthy co-pay.

The 'money fairy' doesn't have unlimited pockets.

In Canada, those expensive drugs simply aren't on the list of what can be prescribed. IN addition, things like chemo have six month waiting lists. So folks are given pain relievers, and the system hopes that some will croak to avoid over using the system resources. Canada and England ration by delaying and delaying, and using mostly generics and older medicines which may not be as effective medically but are much more effective cost wise.

t.

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Author: Follydolly Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12846 of 19483
Subject: Re: More on Insurance Companies Date: 4/14/2008 5:32 PM
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“People’s eyes need to be opened,” she said. “They need to understand that these drugs are very costly, and there are a lot of people out there who are struggling with these costs.”

This is all very sad indeed. Practically no one can afford the high co-payments for tier 4 drugs quoted in the article.

OTOH, what if the drug companies had not discovered these drugs? What if they had not done the R & D for these drugs? Then, they would not exist, people would not be paying high prices for drugs that can be lifesaving, and life would be like it was before the drugs were manufactured.

Seems all of the people opted to pay for these new expensive drugs instead of dying. Makes sense. R & D is very expensive. For every new drug that makes it to market, many many fail. Someone has to pay for R & D. Obviously, insurance companies opted not to spread the cost among all insureds.

So far I am fortunate. I have not yet heard of a tier 4 drug category from my supplemental insurance company, but my payments when up to $70 co-pay. Still reasonable IMO.

~Birgit

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Author: CycleGirl One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 12851 of 19483
Subject: Re: More on Insurance Companies Date: 4/15/2008 9:40 PM
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This post has little to do with AM's original post. Sorry AM. However, I have personal experience with expensive, but life-changing, prescription drugs.

I get migraine headaches. In the early 90s, Glaxo came out with an injectable vaso-constrictor called Imitrex which actually constricts the blood vessels and can stop a full-blown migraine. Now, for a person who has, on occasion, visited an emergency room due to the severity of a migraine attack (yes, they can be that bad), this was nothing short of a miracle drug for me when it came out.

I can't estimate the cost to my career and quality of life had I not had this medication to deal with my otherwise uncontrollable migraines.

I currently pay a $10 co-pay per dose with my current insurance (very good insurance). When my COBRA runs out, I'll probably pay a LOT more. However, the patent will run out in the USA in a couple of years (hooray!) so the price should go down.

Glaxo spent a lot of money developing the drug and I'm sure that they made hundreds of times their investment in return. They're entitled to their profits. I consider the product to be worth more than price I paid.

CG

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