Out-of-pocket costs are preventing many people from taking vital asthma medication, says a new study, calling for urgent interventions to promote discussions between patients and doctors about the cost of medicines to treat asthma.
The most commonly prescribed preventer treatments for asthma contain inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) which, if taken regularly, reduce the severity of the disease and the number of asthma-related deaths, said the researchers.
According to reports, at least one in every 10 asthma patient globally lives in India and the economic costs associated with asthma exceed those of TB and HIV/AIDS combined.
To reach this conclusion, researchers led by The George Institute for Global Health and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research at UNSW Sydney, surveyed 1,400 people with asthma in Australia and found that half of the adults and one-third of the children in the study were either decreasing or skipping doses of asthma medicines to make them last longer.
“We know that preventer inhalers can be incredibly effective at controlling symptoms and preventing people from being hospitalised or even from dying of asthma, yet our study has found that out-of-pocket costs are preventing many from accessing medicines which can be life-saving,” said senior research fellow Tracey-Lea Laba of The George Institute.
The study found that young male adults were the most likely to under-use asthma treatments.
This was compounded by doctors being largely unaware that out-of-pocket costs were a significant concern for many of their patients, or that some preventers had lower out-of-pocket costs for patients than others.
According to fellow study author Professor Helen Reddel of the Woolcock Institute at UNSW Sydney, asthma is a long-term disease and one where people really need to keep the inflammation under control by taking a preventative medicine and not just relying on short-term symptom relief from a blue inhaler.
When you hear the phrase “cost of living,” you typically think about the normal thing like salary ranges in your field, price ranges of homes and apartments, and gas prices… but in this particular scenario, the cost of living is referring to what it actually costs you to stay alive and well on this Earth, as far as your health is concerned.
According to ABC News, over 40 million Americans either don’t have access to the health care that they need or they just simply can’t afford it. The report discussed a study conducted by the CDC and revealed that one-fifth of Americans couldn’t afford the services of:
Medical services and treatments
Even those with health insurance still have limited access to the care they need. People tend to think that just because a person has health insurance, that they are automatically secured in health care coverage, and that’s not the case at all. People who have health insurance still face health care access due to:
Not having transportation to get to doctor appointments
Not having the money for copays
Services that aren’t covered
There is a commercial out now for the prescription price tracker called GoodRX. The commercial showed a woman with her sick son walking into a pharmacy and all she could think was “I hope I can afford this medicine for my son… he really needs it.” As she approaches the pharmacy counter, the pharmacist informs her of the price and the mother says thank you and proceeds to walk away because she can’t afford the medication.
The next thing you know, the pharmacist informs her about GoodRX. The mother downloaded the app and was able to afford her son’s medication. The sad part about that commercial is that so many people face that same scenario everyday but instead go without medicine altogether.
The Cost of Living and Dying
Everything is so expensive that you can barely afford to live and you’re lucky if you can afford to die. In order to live a good, healthy quality of life, you have to eat right, exercise, take care of your skin, take care of your teeth, etc… and that’s if you don’t have any preconceived conditions! If you have diabetes and require insulin to live, one vial of Humalog insulin costs $435. If you’re like most people, you don’t just have $435 laying around.
For those living with cancer and need chemo treatments, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A common Leukemia medication called Gleevec will cost a patient $146,000 a year. That is a life-saving drug and failure to get the medication could have life-threatening results. The number one cause of death among Americans is heart disease and just like cancer patients or people living with diabetes, they can’t always afford the medications they need to survive. Some of the most common conditions are hard to treat due to costs… asthma medication is getting too expensive now.
So as you can see, it’s hard enough to live and be healthy but to live and be healthy with medical conditions, is even harder. You have to take every necessary step to do your part in maintaining your health, whether it means you exercise and eat vegetables or even if you have to find another job that’s not as stressful, making those types of changes is a lot easier then having to pay for hospital bills and new medications you didn’t have to take before. You have to take care of yourself by making healthier choices.
If you thought it was expensive to live, it can be just as expensive to die. The only difference in living and dying is who is paying for the end of life arrangements. In most cases, people don’t make proper end of life arrangements ahead of time, leaving their family members to not only grieve but to also take on the stress of planning and paying for a funeral.
The average cost of a funeral can be anywhere from $7,000 to $12,000 and more. To leave your family having to pay for those kinds of costs during such a difficult time can be very stressful for the family. Some people will be proactive about their end of life arrangements and handle everything in advance. They’ll find the right power of attorney (POA), create their living will and testament, and speak to family members about their last wishes.
The only thing about that is, a lot of people don’t have that mindset and feel like they need to wait until they get old to do that but the reality is that you’re never too young to make those types of arrangements because life is so unpredictable. You honestly need to make these types of arrangements when major life events happen like marriage and children and just continue to update things as you grow older. (IANS)