Published September 29th, 2015 by Stephanie
It’s hard to put a value on a life. There’s something inherently mercenary about the idea, an implication that seems to say you’re free to take someone’s life if you can simply pay the bill afterwards. However, setting odds and prices on accidents and diseases is something that insurance actuaries do every day, and our reluctance to bargain with our lives gives the health care industry the opportunity to set prices for procedures and medications wherever they see fit.
One recent example that shows these forces at work is the introduction of two new anti-cholesterol drugs, Repatha and Praluent. Both medications have proven their effectiveness at reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol, but both also hit the pocketbook hard at over $14,000 for a year’s worth of treatment. It’s hard to put a value on a life, but it’s also hard to justify buying a new car’s worth of cholesterol medication every year, especially when less effective but cheaper generic drugs exist and demand three or four figures per year instead of five.
Because of this cost, and because Repatha and Praluent are meant to be taken regularly to improve your health rather than to cure or treat a specific disease, health insurers are reluctant to cover these new drugs. Instead, they look to reports like the one released by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review which says the drugs should only cost one third of the stated price based on the value they’d provide in preventing heart attacks, and that they should cost one sixth as much in order to fit painlessly into existing health plans.
The ICER report is not without its faults. For one, it hasn’t been peer-reviewed, and it’s also premature: the studies regarding the long-term effectiveness of these drugs won’t be ready until 2017. Still, it gives health insurers some ammunition to use against the pharmaceutical companies during their negotiations, and if they can bargain the price low enough, the insurers may be able to cover the drugs with more of their health plans. As it turns out, a life that’s worth less is one that’s easier to afford.
But even if the insurance companies don’t come through, the USA Rx pharmacy discount card will. Our program provides up to 75 percent off of virtually every prescription drug, new or old, and unlike a health care plan we don’t have selective or limited coverage – our discounts apply whenever you need them, for as long as you need them. For more info, send an email to [email protected] or call our toll-free number at 888-277-3911.