Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Rx Conundrum

In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, there's been a lot of discussion about whether or not employers (and their health insurance providers) should be forced to provide "free" birth control convenience items coverage to their employees/insureds.

[I put the scare-quotes around "free" because of course they're not: someone is paying an insurance premium. Or did Ms Shecantbeserious think that Big Pharma was giving it away?]

It's also important to remember that this is a purely administrative issue - BC is nowhere to be found in the ObamaTax law itself.

With that in mind, consider this:

"It has always struck me as rather strange that that is the one prescription that the administration wants to insist should be provided at no cast to insured employees. Think of all the possible medicines that they could have chosen to be provided for free - prescriptions for heart problems, cancer, diabetes, asthma, HIV, or psychiatric treatments. But none of those were considered worthy of mandating that they be provided free of cost. Only contraceptives."

I'm embarrassed to admit that this rather obvious - and critical - point had gone completely under my radar. But it rings true, doesn't it? Why this one particular medication, and no other?

Thanks to increased transparency, it's not really difficult to find the average cost of medicines. A few minutes online yielded this information:

Average cost of BC: $15 to $50 per month (or $180 to $600 a year). That's about the cost of maybe a dozen latte's a month, max.

Average cost of chemo: up to $15 thousand a month.

Or how about HIV treatment? This averages $2,000 to $5,000 a month.

And yet the two life-saving regimens are subject to deductibles and co-payments, while the convenience items must be "free?" If it's truly about "women's health," are we to assume that no females get cancer or HIV?

Reality says otherwise.

[Hat Tip: Ace of Spades]
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