You may have already read this article in the NY times about “tier 4″ medications and how insurance companies plan to raise the costs to patients into the stratosphere. It made me sick. This just goes against the idea of insurance in the first place – to distribute the costs of care amongst healthy and sick so the sick don’t pay very much (well, premiums are high enough but this is above that).I mean, if you had to pay a percent of your cost for a totalled car (like 30% ) of a brand new 40,000$ BMW, you would vomit! How bout 30% of the price of your home if it burnt down! The whole point is that you pay your 250$ or 500$ deductible because the cost of your claim if offset by tons of people who did not have an accident or have a house fire.
The sickening thing about it to me is that the “tier 4″ medications are those that treat some serious (and actually not all that uncommon) chronic medical problems whose development most often has NOTHING to do with patients’ habits (like coronary artery disease and smoking or diabetes and obesity). Diseases like MS, forms of anaemia, leukaemia, and Rheumatoid Arthritis are often auto immune in origin and their development is terrible bad luck. No one smokes or drinks themselves into multiple sclerosis (at least not that we know of).
Plans that have this system are being offered to employers at cut rates (because they are shifting the costs to the chronically ill) and given the rising cost to insure one’s employees, I have no doubt these plans will become more popular.
I foresee patients rioting. I see them writing their congressmen/women. I see people calling lawyers. I see advocacy groups simply not tolerating it. I see insurance companies backing down (eventually after many people are either riddled with untreated disease and/or bankrupted).