J Morris Hicks

J Morris Hicks

Posted December 28, 2012

Published in Health

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$132,000/year cancer drug. Guess who's paying for it?

Read More: cost of cancer drugs

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Retired business journalist tells his story in the New York Times.

Former Money Magazine editor Frank Lalli
Former Money Magazine editor Frank Lalli

On 12-1-12, I noticed a story by Frank Lalli, entitled A Health Insurance Detective Story. He was writing about the nightmare endured while trying to figure out how he was going to pay for his cancer medication after the coverage by his former employer (Time Warner) finally ended.

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His story was all about the incredible hassle one must face in dealing with an extremely complicated and bureaucratic system. As he said:

If a seasoned personal-finance journalist can’t get a straight answer to a simple question, what chance do most people have of picking the right health insurance option?

As he told his story of detail, hassle and endless red tape and paperwork---I was hearing a different story. The one about who actually pays for our medical bills in this country. Frank documents his ordeal very well---over 70 phone calls to 16 organizations in just a few weeks.

Would you believe $524 per pill?
Would you believe $524 per pill?

In Mr. Lalli's case, the annual cost of his cancer drug had been running $132,000 a year ($524/pill)---but his out-of-pocket exposure had been $1,000---less than one percent of actual cost of the drug. Time Warner was picking up the balance. Now, he was being told that his $1,000 out-of-pocket deal had been eliminated.

Ultimately, after all those phone calls and endless stress, he ended up with an even sweeter deal than he had before---he would now be paying just $60/month for his cancer drug---Leaving $131,280 to be paid by the rest of the system.

My concern is about who pays for the other 99.5% of the cost of his drug.

Continue reading this article.

Blogging daily at the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation



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