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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Obamacare Hits Multiple Sclerosis Patients Hard: Losing Insurance, Higher Drug Costs

by Scott Somerville | Washington, DC | | 12/9/13

Obamacare was always expected to result in some “winners” and some “losers.” The argument for the new law was that some people (especially the young and healthy) should pay a little more so that other people (the old and sick) could get the help they need. It’s troubling to discover that some of the people who may get hurt the worst are those who are the sickest.
Approximately five percent of multiple sclerosis sufferers (those who were covered by individual insurance policies) have begun to discover how Obamacare affects them personally. Whitney Johnson had a policy that covered her medical bills even though they added up to $350,000 per year. Her existing insurance was cancelled and she was invited to pick a new policy from She had not been able to get what she needed through the Exchange, so she went directly to her insurer–only to discover that all her new options were unaffordable.  She writes:
I know I have five more IVIG treatments coming up over the next six months that cost $40,000 each. My insurance coverage ends in December, and I have to have these treatments. As a mother with a brand new baby, it’s a little unnerving to know that I may not be able to receive the care I need. It’s a little unnerving to know my health insurance that was working just fine for me was taken from me. The doctors I have used for years that have kept me this healthy will be taken from me.
Whitney is one of “small percentage” who have had their policies cancelled, but many more Americans with MS will be affected next November, when employer-provided policies must comply with the new law.  The Multiple Scerosis Association of America highlights theparticular questions MS patients need to consider. These include:
  • Are my needed medications covered, and what are my costs?
  • Can I keep my doctor and are there restrictions on which doctors I can choose?
  • What plans can I afford and am eligible for?
  • Can I afford my deductible?
  • What are my expected out-of-pocket costs for equipment I may need?
  • Do I have to try lower-cost medications before I will be approved for the drugs I use now?
Forbes Magazine worked through the cost of MS medications in today’s article, “No, You Can’t Keep Your Drugs Either Under Obamacare.
Take, for example, the drug Copaxone for multiple sclerosis.

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1 comment:

Ellen Lerner said...

I feel so badly about what is happening to ms patients and many many others' policies. One of my meds I found out today when I reorded went from $50 copay for 3 mos to $170 for 3 months. Bottom line, who voted for this President and why? I didn't b/c I saw right thru his rhetoric. So the rest of you who voted for him can't complain now, but please don't vote for Hilary either. Think before u vote. Too bad Dr. Carson says he won't run b/c I think he could turn this whole medical debacle around. It is hard to know in advance I agree but we can't vote for color or gender..look at the issues and hope the candidate you choose is not lying!!!