Health care costs have skyrocketed since the financial crisis, and a growing number of doctors are working for companies like the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which has been able to offer big payouts to doctors to get them to accept lower-quality drugs.
But there is also the potential for some patients to be left with higher bills, according to a new report by the consulting firm Avalere Health.
The study says some people will likely see their doctor less often, and some will have to switch doctors to save money.
The authors say that if the pharmaceutical industry were to stop making money on its lucrative brand name drugs, the impact could be far greater.
Avalere surveyed about 1,400 US doctors and found that nearly 60% of them said they would no longer accept a drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
It found that some of these doctors would cut their salaries by 20% or more if they didn’t have the money to treat the patients.
“We see a lot of physicians are doing a little bit of soul searching about whether they really need to accept the drug and what is the right thing to do,” said Avalere senior vice president of health policy and research, Daniel Bier.
The number of people on Medicare who are eligible for prescription drug discounts has increased significantly over the past five years, from roughly 6 million people in 2013 to more than 10 million in 2020, according the Medicare Trustees Association.
Those who qualify for the discounts also pay more for their prescriptions, but the rate at which they get reimbursed for the drugs they take has decreased.
Some of those lower reimbursements have made it hard for many patients to afford their prescription drugs.
The Avalere study found that the average price of a drug approved by Pfizer and the generic version of the same drug, Avastin, rose more than 6% between 2016 and 2020.
That was double the average increase for all drugs over that same time period.
The average price per year for Pfizer’s generic version increased from $3,958 to $5,842 between 2016 to 2020.
The price of Avastan rose from $6,966 to $8,857.
The cost of Avasyn increased from about $1,600 to $3.80 per tablet.
For Pfizer it was about $2,200 per tablet, and the cost of the generic generic Avastyn was about two-thirds of the price of the original Pfizer version.
Avaliere also said that the price increases for Avastins generic versions have been higher than the generic versions of Pfizer generics, but that those prices are still well below the price for generic Avasin.
In some cases, the cost for generic versions was higher than that of the originals.
Avaleter found that patients are still getting better care.
“The problem with the generic drug market is that people are still seeing the same generic drugs that they were getting,” said Bier, “and that means people are going to continue to pay for them.”
The study found the average monthly bill for a person who was covered by Medicare was $9,534, up from $8.89 in 2015.
That is about one-third higher than what it was in 2000, the year before the financial collapse hit.
It also found that Medicare paid for about three-quarters of the cost associated with a family of four getting an average of $4,929 in a year, up by about $200 from the $4.19 they paid in 2016.
Avalera estimates that the costs associated with the cost per month of care for Medicare beneficiaries increased by $3 million between 2016-2021.
That represents about 2.3% of the overall healthcare cost.
The healthcare bill for an average American is about $895 per month, the study found.
The majority of people who received a prescription from their primary care doctor paid that out-of-pocket expense, according with Avalere.
About 40% of Medicare beneficiaries who were insured paid out- of-pocket for their prescription, up to 40% in some cases.
The group who were paying for the prescriptions mostly did so because they had a deductible, or co-payment, for their care, or the cost was high for other services, Avalere found.
About 70% of all Americans paid out of pocket for their primary-care care doctor’s prescription costs, while less than half of people were paying the deductible for their hospital stays, according Avalere’s findings.
Avalero reported that the Medicare prescription drug program will be the largest single source of income for Medicare’s beneficiaries over the next 10 years.
But it also said some of the savings are likely to be lost in a projected spike in the cost to Medicare.
Avalire estimates that a $2.4 billion reduction in annual spending for Medicare from 2024 to 2032 could result in an estimated $9.5 billion to $10.7 billion in