out-of-pocket spending

Certain providers recently received a solicitation from Cigna, informing them that their patients on secukinumab (Cosentyx) – a biologic commonly prescribed for psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and other autoimmune illnesses – may soon receive a $500 debit card for accepting an alternative treatment. Uniformly, any patient on this medication is enticed to switch even if they’re stable on their current treatment. Disturbingly, this attempt to lure patients by providing them with a one-time payment blurs the line between insurance coverage and medical practice.
We increasingly extend both the quality and quantity of life for what were fatal diseases; AIDS/HIV comes readily to mind. But treatment is also increasingly expensive, even with insurance coverage. In some instances, co-pays are equivalent to the annual median household income. A new paper looks at a readily available source of funding. (Spoiler alert: it doesn't involve new taxes.)
The cost of pharmaceuticals is high for a number of reasons. A new study considers our out-of-pocket spending and increased use of medications, rather than more expensive surgery or hospitalization as a driver we can control.