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New Reports: Insurance Plans Shifting More Costs to Patients

April 14, 2016
A new report out this week from the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that patient out of pocket costs are increasing, as insurance plans shift a greater share of costs onto patients via increased deductibles and coinsurance payments.

The study found that “between 2004 and 2014, average payments for deductibles and coinsurance rose considerably faster than the overall cost for covered benefits, while the average payments for copayments fell.” It showed that in the same time window, “patient cost-sharing rose substantially faster than payments for care by health plans.” It also found that the average deductible for people with employer-provided health coverage rose from $303 to $1,077 between 2006 and 2015.

Another report released today sheds light on increases in the out of pocket spending on prescription drugs that patients face. The report from IMS Health found that the average patient share of the cost for a brand-name prescription in commercial health plans has increased by over 25% since 2010. Meanwhile, the net prices for brand-name drugs – after accounting for price concessions and rebates paid by manufacturers – increased just 2.8% in 2015, according to the IMS report. Such discounts and rebates added up to $115.3 billion last year, more than double the $52.4 billion offered in 2009.

These reports add to the mounting evidence that insurance companies are impeding working families’ access to innovative new medicines their doctors think will help improve or even save their lives. The biopharmaceutical industry is doing its job by continuing to bring innovative life-saving and life-enhancing treatments to patients each year. It’s time for the insurance industry to own up to their job and ensure that patients may continue to use these medicines at an out of pocket cost that makes them truly accessible.