Health costs could double for women in the new year as health insurers increase reimbursements for chest compressions
The cost of breast-cushion medication has skyrocketed in recent years and now health insurers are scrambling to make up the difference.
In 2016, the average Medicare reimbursement for chest compression drugs rose from $13.95 per month to $19.55 per month, according to a study published last month in the American Journal of Public Health.
The rise in the cost of the drugs is a concern for some women because they tend to have less time to rest between treatment sessions and also require longer treatment cycles.
“It could mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a full-blown bout of chest pain,” Dr. Susan G. Miller, a medical officer at the American Heart Association, said.
Miller and other experts say the rising costs are a sign of the health care system being stretched beyond its limits.
Medicare reimburses patients for drugs they may have to use only a few times a year.
But in a world where doctors and hospitals are stretched beyond capacity, it’s not clear that the government can cover everyone who needs chest compression therapy.
Experts are concerned that the increased cost of these drugs could force women to cut back on their healthcare spending and risk worsening their conditions.
For example, the cost for a $1,000 dose of a compression drug may be cheaper than a $300 course of medication.
That’s because it costs a patient $1 to $1.50 to administer a compression treatment, according a 2014 analysis by the American College of Chest Physicians.
That’s because the cost is calculated based on a patient’s size, weight and age, according the study.
The Medicare reimbursements increase are likely to be even more pronounced if insurers continue to increase their coverage for the medications, Miller said.
It’s also unclear how much the increase will cost women.
Insurers have yet to disclose the actual cost of their plans, which are required to offer discounts on medications and services.
But some have offered discounts of up to 20% on certain types of products.
As a result, some patients may choose to stay away from their doctor or have to switch doctors, Miller told Healthline.
Another issue is the fact that the drugs aren’t covered by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which President Donald Trump signed into law in May.
Instead, insurers are paying for the cost through an annual co-pay, which is capped at $95 per person.
And the cost increases may not be reflected in the prices of some drugs.
In the last two years, Medicare has increased the cost-sharing rate for many of the same drugs, said Dr. Julie Buehler, a cardiologist and clinical fellow at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
She said that means that more women will be unable to afford the drugs.
But Bueherts research suggests that the cost could be even higher if the new administration is serious about addressing the health crisis.
“If we continue to see an increase in costs of these medicines, that would mean that more than a million women in this country are going to be on the hook for the bill,” Buehers said.
In addition to increasing the cost, some of the new medications also require additional treatments and can be more costly for some people, such as older adults.
Studies have also shown that some women will experience some side effects from certain types and doses of the medications.
Some of the most commonly prescribed drugs are Lipitor, a cholesterol medication, and Adrafinil, a muscle relaxant.
Buehers said she believes that there are additional health problems associated with the medications and they could make women less likely to seek help.
“Women are more likely to have heart attacks, have diabetes and other problems, and we’re talking about a drug that is associated with a number of other things,” she said.
The most common side effects are mild and can include dry mouth, headache, dizziness, chest pain and nausea, according that study.
Some women who have had problems with the drugs may seek treatment outside of the doctor’s office, or for treatment outside a hospital.
BueHersts recommends that women seeking treatment for chest pain at home use a local doctor and ask him or her for a referral to a specialist in their area.
“The way you do that is to go to a local provider and you ask for a visit,” Büherts said.
“It’s not a matter of if they’re going to treat you or not.
It just means they’re taking care of you.”SOURCE: http://www.healthline.com/health/health-care-costs-risky-diseases-pushing-women-to-change-their-medicines/article/76425