Rising Cost of 'Specialty' Drugs Prompts Employers to Limit Their Use

When Kathi Ryness’s multiple sclerosis worsened in 2000, she began taking Avonex, a drug that helps slow the progression of the disease and reduces the number of relapses. At the time, her health plan covered the drug in full.

But in 2009, she and her husband, Gary, were forced to switch plans. Under their new coverage, the Alamo, Calif., couple owed $660 every four weeks for the weekly Avonex injections, 30 percent of the $2,200 cost. Within a year, the cost went up again, leaving Kathi, who is now 62, and Gary, 66, on the hook for $800 every four weeks.

The coinsurance was killing them. “It was a choice between that and eating,” Gary Ryness says.

Working with an insurance consultant, they switched from a preferred provider organization to a health maintenance organization that didn’t have coinsurance charges for self-injectable drugs such as Avonex. Now, they pay nothing for the drug.

Read the full story: http://hcp.lv/IOd18l

Source: The Washington Post