Published: Mar 26, 2018 3:11 p.m. ET
New programs no longer allow patients use co-pay coupons, creating financial barriers to taking important medications
Nathaniel Killgore, a graphic designer living in Alabama, was bleeding internally.
The painful bleeds, in his knees and arms, began while he was moving to a new state. He couldn’t get around, and was in extreme pain.
Killgore, who was born with hemophilia, knew that clotting factor would help stop the bleeding and pain. He had previously used a co-pay coupon provided by the factor’s manufacturer to afford the prescription, but it wasn’t working this time.
To get his life-sustaining medication, Killgore needed to pay his $6,500 health insurance deductible in full, the pharmacy told him.
It was money Killgore and his wife, Lauren, already grappling with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student and medical debt, just didn’t have.
Lauren asked a customer service representative about a payment plan, and was advised to borrow money from family or take it out in credit cards.
Killgore ended up being hospitalized and needing surgery, something that taking the factor would have completely avoided.
“Two kids straight out of school, fresh married, we did not — who has $6,500, you know?” Lauren Killgore said. “We felt like we had hit rock bottom, and there was no way to excel in life, no way to be debt-free ever; no way to have medication at home for him. We just hit a wall.”
Read more: Like using that drug coupon? Its days may be numbered
Drugs for hemophilia and other complex diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, cancer, rare diseases and more are some of the most expensive medications in the U.S.
The shift to high-deductible health plans means that even insured individuals are increasingly paying more drug costs out of their own pockets.
See: This is what your health insurance looks like this year
TO CONTINUE: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/patients-cant-afford-life-saving-medications-under-new-health-plan-change-201