Journalist Carol M. Ostrom wrote a well-researched — and heartbreaking — story on prescription drug insurance that appeared in Sunday’s Seattle Times.
Ostrom looks at the increase in the number of biotech specialty drugs that aren’t covered by traditional insurance co-pay plans. Instead, patients must pay a percentage of drug costs — which in some cases, can be financially devastating.
Gary Claxton of the Kaiser Family Foundation tells Ostrom that such changes in insurance plans are threatening to defeat the purpose of health insurance in the first place. Says Claxton:
The idea of prescription drug insurance is to protect people from catastrophic costs … At some point, people aren’t going to consider themselves insured if they’re at risk for a huge amount out-of-pocket just because they have one disease rather than another.
Adds health-policy analyst Dan Mendelson: “It gets to the fundamental question of ‘What is insurance?'”
The article includes the sad stories of a number of healthcare consumers who have had to discontinue needed treatments after losing the battle for coverage with their insurance providers.