Yesterday I wrote about the problem of fake insurance plans taking advantage of people. Today I’m going in a slightly different direction, because many of these people, including myself, have insurance.

Back in January I wrote about the most important financial consideration being health care coverage. After a story came out yesterday saying that 60% of people who have been applying for bankruptcy have had some significant health care bills, even if they had insurance, I can certainly see that as being viable.

But some people are finding it hard to pay for their medications, and that’s kind of scary. Many insurance plans are now outsourcing their pharmacy to someone else, and, different than in the past, many of these companies are, with the blessings of their clients, changing the terms of coverage in the middle of the year, without patients having a chance to opt out. They set up tier systems of drugs to determine what will be covered and how, and the amounts of coverage change drastically depending on whether the pharmaceutical is in a high tier or not.

That’s problem one. Problem two is that drugs just cost more nowadays, and co-pays are getting higher. Things that used to cost a couple of dollars are now costing in the 20’s of dollars. If you’re talking one medication maybe you bite the bullet and pay it. If you’re talking multiple pharmaceuticals, well, now you’re going to have some issues.

In a MSNBC news story on the pharmacy cost issue, one man walked in with multiple prescriptions for multiple things, and had to pick and choose what he could afford to pay for, even though one of his drugs, the one that cost the highest was a heart medication, as he’d just gotten out of the hospital for a heart attack. And that’s one of the drugs he couldn’t afford.

Oddly enough, I know what it’s like and don’t know what it’s like at the same time. I’m diabetic, and my insurance covers diabetic supplies at 100%. However, we keep having problems with the pharmacy company that handles those claims, and at least every other month the pharmacy has to tell me that the insurance company has messed up the processing again and is trying to say I owe these exorbitant amounts for my medications. They eventually end up paying for it in full, but I’ve heard just how much my medications would be if I had to pay for them; insulin isn’t cheap stuff.

Unfortunately, there’s no real fix for this. Even in my idea for a health plan, I don’t talk about pharmaceuticals because there’s an animal that can’t be tamed. And don’t get me started talking about lab work (another blog post upcoming), which at least I did touch upon.

This is the cost of having great health care in America; we can keep ourselves alive and healthy, but only if we can pay for it; just like everything else.

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