Drug developers are working hard to develop drugs that treat the underlying causes of disease. Sadly, only some patients can afford to pay for these drugs. That’s right, not all patients have access to health insurance or qualify for government-funded prescription assistance, which can leave patients facing high copays and deductibles. With drug costs quickly rising in America, it’s estimated that only 55% of all adults have prescription drug coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that average out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions were 68% higher than retail pharmacy costs.
New Drugs Can Carry a Hefty Price Tag
Most people know they should exercise regularly to stay healthy. But a new study finds that regular exercise may not be enough. Researchers from Harvard say exercise alone isn’t enough to fend off diseases of aging. Researchers found that people who exercised every day saw an increase in the risk of stroke, heart attack, and dying from cancer. The findings suggest that, in addition to exercising, people should also be mindful of their eating habits. New drugs often come at a price. While new drugs are often hoped to be more effective, they also come with greater risks and higher costs. The hope is that these drugs are better than the current ones on the market, but that doesn’t always pan out. In some cases, new drugs are simply too new, newly developed, or still being tested. Though good drugs hit the market, they come at a steep price, with hospitals and insurance companies usually footing the bill.
Owners Call for Drug Pricing Reform to Slow Down Escalating Costs
In June, the Department of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, issued “A Blueprint for Reforming the U.S. Drug Pricing System.” The Blueprint evaluates the “current structure, incentives, and disincentives” that distort the market and “result in high costs for personal use drugs and Medicare and Medicaid” and proposes “bold solutions” to eliminating those incentives. The Blueprint is broad in scope, covering both traditional drugs (for patients and individuals) and generic drugs (for Medicare), and it offers a variety of potential fixes. The escalating costs of prescription medicines are not slowing down. Still, a new report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) shows that price transparency can help consumers and insurers keep an eye on drug costs. Over the past several years, drug prices have steadily increased, and prices for the most-prescribed drugs have skyrocketed. At the same time, the average annual cost of health insurance rose 5.9% in 2016, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Tips for Saving Money on Your Prescriptions
We all get sick from time to time. It can be a little annoying to run back to your doctor’s office to get more medication. No one likes paying for prescriptions, so saving money on prescriptions can be a relief. Also, as mentioned earlier, prescription drug costs have skyrocketed in recent years, and if you have Medicare, you may be one of the more than 70% of Americans who overpay for their prescription drugs. Medicare Flash reports that Americans spend more than $370 billion per year on prescription drugs, and 25% of that is paid out of pocket. The good news is that there are a number of ways you can save money on your prescriptions, including using discount cards and coupons. Check with your doctor about open enrollment periods, and see if you can negotiate a lower copay. And if your doctor doesn’t accept your insurance, see if they’ll give you a discount.
Many are concerned about the cost of their prescription medications, especially since so many people rely on them to remain healthy. And it’s true—it can cost hundreds of dollars per month just to get the scripts you need. That’s why it’s more important than ever to know how to save money on prescription drugs.