For years, Megan Neary paid $30 each for a package of epinephrine auto-injectors for her two teenage children with food allergies. A four-pack of life-saving medicine costs $120 a year.
So was Neri, 42, of Scituate, Massachusetts, when her family pharmacist told her in 2019 that each auto-injector pack would cost $600.
His out-of-pocket expenses for the year skyrocketed to $2,400.
The price of epinephrine shots themselves has not gone up. The problem was Neris switched to a new, high-deductible health insurance plan to save money. With high-deductible programs. Monthly payments are lower. But must pay thousands of dollars each year. Before many expenses — often including epi auto-injectors — are covered.
Like the Nerys, many households survive price jumps. Some are forced to ration auto-injectors or go without them “Many f decide not to get their EpiPens because they can’t afford it. Said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City. “They’re taking a chance that, God forbid, a bad outcome will happen.”
Parikh says have had to shoulder more financial responsibility over the past decade. Specially as high-deductible insurance plans have become more common.
The 2010 Affordable Care Act expanded access to health insurance. So companies were faced with covering more people than ever before. To compensate. Insurers “have not only increased what they charge to cover it. But they’ve pushed more of it on the patient in the form of high-deductible plans,” Parikh says. “We’ve been seeing this every year for at least the last seven to 10 years.”
An analysis by KFF, also known as the Kaiser Family Foundation. F By 2021, it was 50%.
“The average deductible for employer-based health insurance is now more than $1,700 per person,” said Larry Levitt. Executive vice president of KFF.
With some family plans, the deductible can exceed $3,000.
Prescriptions that used to cost $30 or more — a basic copay — are now full price, which can climb into the hundreds of dollars.
But epinephrine auto-injectors — which deliver a shot of epinephrine. And are the only emergency medicine available for life-threatening allergic reactions — usually aren’t.
Few prescription drugs or devices epitomize out-of-control. Healthcare costs more than the EpiPen From 2008 to 2016.The Mylan pharmaceutical company raised. The price of its auto-injector by more than 400%. Leading to public outrage and a congressional investigation.
Other epinephrine delivery products soon emerged. Such as Adrenaclick and UV-Q, along with generics. Hoping to make the prices more affordable. It worked up to a point.
“Privately insured patients had a reduction in out-of-pocket payments. Said Dr. Kao-Ping Chua, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Michigan Medical School. nd the Susan B. Meister Child Health Evaluation. And Research Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.