Patients with specialized Rx feeling strain

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Insulin is just one of many specialized medications that doesn't have a generic. Insurance companies are beginning to place it, along with other expensive heart and cancer drugs on insurance tiers that require higher co pays.

"It takes them by surprise," pharmacist John Bob Cody said. "It takes us by surprise. We only know it at the time we fill it and,of course, if they've been paying $6 and then they come in and now it's a $136, most people can't handle that at one time."

Community RX help provides assistance for primarily the uninsured, but its social workers are fully aware of the consequences for medicare recipients and people with high co pays.

"Well, some of them are forced to do without because the can't afford the co-pay and that leads to a very difficult situation because they can't maintain their health," Tricia Hand said.

The patient takes the most drastic measure as pharmaceuticals, insurers and employers deal with rising medical costs.

"Prescription drugs are continuing to rise at a rate that's even more than the medical costs are and so what you're seeing in the market place is employers, in order to keep costs down or under control, they're moving to plans with higher co-pays," insurance agent Jeff Summers said.

Placing the burden back on the employee to...

"Either suck up and take the costs or contact their doctor and change to another medication," Cody said.

The change may not be tolerated or could make the condition worse. Then there's still the person with the specialized medication. They have little choice.

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