As if they’re not high enough, healthcare costs are predicted to rise in 2018. A new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute projects that medical costs will increase by 6.5% from 2017-2018. And since insurers use the annual cost growth rate as a benchmark to set premiums, they’ll also use this projection. Unfortunately, this medical cost trend will outpace economic growth. This is going to ultimately affect almost every American.
Factors Contributing to Rising Healthcare Costs
The rise in healthcare costs is due to a few specific factors. Besides general inflation, one reason is that fewer branded drugs are coming off patent. While most patients use cheaper generic drugs if they have an option, these drugs are often unavailable. As a result, the sharp increase in prices of branded drugs is escalating the entire market. Another reason is a fall in employees signing up for high-deductible health plans.
High Costs of Branded Drugs
Eventually, most branded drugs will have generic alternatives. The FDA allows pharmaceutical companies an exclusivity period since it costs so much to bring a new drug to market. This allows them to recoup some of the costs of establishing the new drug. Single-source drugs, or branded drugs with long exclusivity periods are increasing pharmaceutical spending. As a result, healthcare premiums rise. There are several bills battling the branded drug business. These bills would essentially streamline generic drug developer’s paths to market. But there is no clear timeline when or if these bills will pass.
Two examples of branded drugs with high costs are Tasigna and Actemra. Tasigna works to target proteins in cancer cells and stops them from growing. While the costs vary depending on coverage, one woman reports that she pays over $100,000 a year for this medication. Another expensive and popular drug is Actemra – a rheumatoid arthritis drug which can cost between $1000-3000 a month. And that is with insurance coverage.
High-Deductible Health Plans
Another reason for the rise in healthcare costs is that fewer employers are turning to high-deductible health care plans. And the cost is hitting employees – not the employer’s themselves. A study done by the firm Mercer found that the total cost of health benefits per employee grew 2.4% for employees enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans. In 2018 the total employer benefit cost may see an increase of approximately 4.1%.
Combining these issues with new treatments and technologies and healthcare costs are predicted to surge. Unfortunately for many, these costs will impact their quality of life – or ability to access much-needed drugs.
What You Can Do
If you were injured by a high-expense drug, you may be eligible for compensation. Drugs like Actemra and Tasigna are expensive and dangerous. The manufacturers have also failed to warn patients about many possible side effects. To see if your own case may qualify for compensation, fill out your free Tasigna or Actemra claim evaluation form now. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced lawyer will contact you to discuss your case.