According to a recent study, the annual costs of arthritis medications for patients on Medicare are in excess of $2700 in co-payments alone. These rising costs are making the cost of treatment too excessive for those living with disabling conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Insurance and treatment reforms are being suggested to help alleviate the cost burden on both patients and the Medicare system as a whole.
A chronic disorder that affects over 1.3 million Americans, rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions are often treated with biologic medications like Humira, Kineret, and Enbrel. The costs of these medications can be as high as $20,000 per year, with Medicare only covering a portion. Coverage for these treatments by Medicare typically range from 30-45% of the cost leaving the remainder for secondary insurance or as an out of pocket expense for the patient.
In many cases, physicians are suggesting medications to patients based on what they can afford rather than the most effective treatment option. Due to these rising annual arthritis medication costs, either patients cannot comply with treatment because of the cost, or are receiving substandard treatment due to affordability. Either way, affected Americans are either not receiving the treatment they need or going broke trying.
Updates to insurance programs are being suggested to help patients manage the rising annual arthritis medication costs. Though there are a number of over the counter arthritis medications
available, there is some debate over the efficacy as compared to the prescription biologics.