For many people seeking prescription drug discounts, one of the most bewildering concerns revolves around the cost of prescription drugs. A few of the most common questions include:
Let’s take these questions one at a time:
1. Why is it that some of my medications are expensive while others are not?
As you probably remember from your High School economics courses, there isn’t a simple, cut-and-dried answer to this question. Even so, here are a few things to keep in mind about the cost of prescription drugs as you search for prescription drug discounts.
Richard G. Frank, Professor of Health Economics at Harvard University, pointed out that “a bewildering range of prices that can exist for the exact same pill. These vary according to one’s insurance coverage, place of purchase (drugstore versus mail order), and the organizational arrangements under which a pharmacy benefit is administered.” And this isn’t even a complete list.
There are a number of additional factors that influence the cost of prescription drugs. To better understand, it may help you to think of prescription drugs being divided into four different types: Generic Drugs, Preferred Drugs, Other Drugs with Preferred or Generic Equivalents, and Specialty Drugs.
It’s that the time of the year again, when everybody seems to be sniffling and sneezing. Flu season is back, and it affects approximately 5-20% of US residents each year, according to CDC.gov. This contagious respiratory virus usually begins in the fall and can continue through late spring. Anyone can be affected, and it varies from mild to severe depending on your risk level.
Google noticed several years ago that it could predict the outbreak of the flu by tracking people’s search patterns on Google.com. You can see this chart here: www.google.org/flutrends.
According to the chart last year’s flu was extremely severe, while the flu in 2012 was not. You can also see how the flu spreads over time, for example in 2013 searches for the flu started increasing in early November, peaking in January. As you can see we are entering flu season. What does this mean for you?
A lot has been said about the Affordable Care Act over the past several weeks, and with the topic dominating social and news networks, this blog post is clarifying the salient aspects of the law that many readers need to know ahead of 2014.
Employers will not be required to buy health insurance for their employees, but large employers may be subject to fines if they don’t provide insurance: It was Congress’ aim to encourage employers, especially large employers, to offer insurance. So they created a fine for employers with more than 50 workers: if those employees buy insurance on the exchanges and qualify for a low-income credit from the government, then the employer will have to pay a fine. These fines are calculated based on the number of employees: for large firms, the fines could be significant.
State decisions to expand or opt out of Medicaid: The Supreme Court in June ruled that states can choose whether they will participate in the expansion of Medicaid. It's likely that a number of states will go along with the law's provision to provide coverage to people with incomes less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, according to Dr. Jonathan Jaffery, a nephrologist and healthcare policy expert at the University of Wisconsin. "For those states that opt-out of expanding their Medicaid programs, this will mean that many people will continue to have limited access to health care," Jaffery said.
Healthcare insurance exchanges: The development of healthcare insurance exchanges, recently rebranded as "marketplaces" by the Obama administration, is moving more slowly than expected. However, this slower pace in becoming operational may be good news for providers, as the health care exchanges will likely pay providers at lower rates for their services. These exchanges are where consumers can “shop and compare” insurance plans before deciding on which one best suits their needs.
Increased technological integration: Patients are increasingly choosing providers who leverage technology in delivery of care. Whether its using social media to raise awareness for programs and fundraising or introducing new programs to improve quality, providers will benefit from using technologies that drive results. More and more organizations and their patients are going mobile so programs that enable data sharing between patients and their physicians while on the go are crucial.