How much can we afford to pay for chronic care illness, and what are patients missing when the care and expenses are out of reach. As insurance coverage has changed with more on catastrophic coverage plans, the money is coming out of the patient’s pocket. It is also having an affect on the development of new technology for care, as device companies struggle for insurance companies to pay. If the medical technology companies go by the wayside, so do the jobs, employers perhaps who offer employer health insurance. Below is a post about the facility fee being disputed at the Cleveland Clinic, which patients are being asked to absorb.
We do need some balance somewhere along the line, patients stay away from care due to money, new technology and devices start to be out of reach, so will we end up with a system that nobody can barely afford? This is also starting to be the case at the ER rooms.
Somewhere along the line the cost of services and technology needs to be addressed in the entire scenario and quickly. This is a touchy subject as without competition, innovation stalls, but on the other hand what good is innovation if nobody can afford it, somewhat of a catch 22 that needs to be balanced. This is a ticking time bomb and time is beginning to run out without more participation from all concerned. BD
People with robust health insurance are putting off doctors’ appointments and skimping on prescriptions because they can’t afford the increasing costs of copayments and deductibles, according to managers of patient-assistance hot lines in Massachusetts.
“Previously it was the uninsured,’’ Rukavina said. “Now we are seeing people with insurance, but they are struggling to pay their bills.’’
The problem appears particularly acute for people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, and cancer. They make frequent visits to doctors and often take multiple medications.
Christina Knowles of Boston said she canceled two appointments with pain specialists this spring because she couldn’t afford the $25 copayments. Despite having what she thought was decent health insurance, the 26-year-old had accumulated more than $2,000 in medical debt from copayments for surgery, frequent follow-up care, and prescriptions, after having a benign tumor removed from deep within her jaw.
“It’s both incredible and sad to think that I am the poster child for the new demographic of people who cannot afford medical care,’’ said Knowles, statewide manager for the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women. Her annual salary was in the low-$30,000s until she got a raise this month.