By Bob Weaver|
Yesterday I spoke with a friend who went to his physician for a chronic health
problem, from which he has little relief. He has been placed on various treatments
over the past three years, with little improvement from the pain, refusing to take pain
killers and narcotics.
His physician said there was a new drug on the market which has proven to be very
effective for his condition, and his written a prescription, saying this may be the
He went to the drug store to have it filled, and the friendly clerk returned with a
months supply, saying "That will be $1,064 please."
My friend, not unlike myself, is paying about $6,500 (individual coverage) a year for
health insurance, which is supposed to be comforting if you have chronic or
unexpected health problems. It is unlikely his insurance will pay for this treatment, or
if it does, the benefits will be drastically reduced.
My insurance is going up about 14% this year, a pattern of increase costs for several
years, although some years the percentage has been higher.
My insurance policy says the company pays for certain drugs, and I must research
their web site for the proper "formulary," (their approved list) after a prescription is
written. If the medication is a no-no on the formulary, I make a trip back to the Doc,
whom may not be of my choosing, but one approved by the insurance company - or I
can diagnose myself before I see the Doc, research the proper medication, check to
see if my insurance will pay for it and hope the Doc agrees - in the lucky event he
does, I can then have my prescription filled, provided I go to a pharmacy approved by,
you guessed it, the insurance company.
This is part of a managed care system that ''holds the costs down." Managed care,
sub-divisions or administrative arms of the insurance company, spends far more
money managing and making money than they provide in patient services.
Health care costs have skyrocketed for years, far beyond inflation or customary
The managed care companies have become big money makers, doing what their
insurance company owners should have been doing themselves.
It is baffling why American consumers are putting up with this run-a-way system.
American citizens can purchase the same drugs from Canada and foreign countries
for a mere fraction of the cost.
Regarding pharmacy, physician and hospital services, it should be noted, they too are
at the mercy of insurance companies and multi-national corporations.
Since their seems to be little national outrage, it is likely this system will continue, to
be sure it will eventually collapse into the mire of greed and failure.