At work, I’ve been in the middle of this day in and day out, and I realized it was time somebody told everyone else just what’s going on in the US in regards to health insurance.
Not only are premiums going up as a direct result of the Unaffordable Healthcare Act, but deductibles are going up. Where medical deductibles used to be separate from prescription ones, now they are being rolled in together.
I realize this is a little abstract so I’ll give you a specific example.
A fairly well off man called me the day before yesterday. He is diabetic, and wanted to know how much his insulin was going to cost for a three month supply. “I paid for the most expensive plan so it should be about what I had last year,” he said confidently.
As gently as I could, I explained that his new plan still had a $3000 deductible. I asked him how much he was putting into his Health Savings Account, where you put pre-tax dollars to help offset your higher costs. “$33 a paycheck…” was the answer. Barely a drop in the bucket. And why not? He was paying the highest premium after all, several hundred dollars a month.
“So how much will my insulin be before my deductible is met?”
I explained that Lantus is about $450 a box even at the negotiated rate, and since he uses 3 boxes a month, he’d be paying almost $1500 for just the first month. This is the kind of time I really hate my job. I know that with that dosage he can’t just go off his insulin, yet despite the fact that he’s working for a major company and making a fair amount, there’s no way he could afford it.
Obviously, that call didn’t end well.
Stories just like this are happening across the US. They happened last year, they’re getting worse this year. Sure, people can get a certain short list of preventive medications. And they can get a small amount of free testing.
But they can’t afford the treatment!