Monday, January 7, 2008

You Paid What??!!

This is the time of month when we have about $35,000 worth of medicine in the house.

Actually, that's kind of a low-ball estimate because the boys have put on a little weight, but it's winter time so they are less active. I expect a jump of about $5K here pretty quick. #2 is going to hit a growth spurt anytime soon.

See, the amount of Factor 9 the boys infuse is directly related to their weight. We shoot for infusing about 36 i.u. of BeneFIX per Kg of weight.

How in the world do we figure that out? While some families watch their kids weight with awe and wonder at how quickly they are growing, we watch with awe at how freakin' expensive they are! The boys keep track of their weight in pounds; I divide that number by 2.2 (1 lb. = 2.2 Kg); I multiply that number by 36 (that's the number of units of factor they need per Kilo of weight). Right now they are using roughly 1600 units of factor.

Each unit of factor costs about $.90. So, that's close to $1,500 for each infusion. We infuse each boy twice a week, which is $6,000 per week. Or $24,000 per month. We keep extra factor on hand in case there is a major injury or trauma which would require infusing 100 units of factor per Kilo of weight. So, $24,000 per month adds up to roughly $300,000 per year! Whew.

And, we are paying to a good price for factor. As I said, we pay about $.90 per unit of factor because we purchase it through our local hemophilia treatment center's pharmacy. That pharmacy is able to purchase factor at a lower rate than, say, Caremark, and is therefore (in theory) able to pass that savings along to patients. That doesn't always happen (the discount passed on the patients part) but that's an issue for a different post.

Most families pay closer to $1.00 per unit...some even more than that. In our world, pennies translate into thousands of dollars.

What does this mean to the average person? Not a lot. Except to point out that there are people living average, normal lives with a mountain of medical debt just to be "normal".

When the whole SCHIP veto went down I was really pissed off at individuals who are completely blind about the reality of health care in this country.

Sure, we have insurance that pays our medical bills for us. But that's because we were able to find work and move to a location that had better insurance. What about a family who doesn't have that flexibility? What about single parents? What about children in the foster care system? See, most insurance companies have a lifetime $300,000 per year, it doesn't take long to hit a 2 Million dollar cap! Or what about families who have high co-pays and deductibles for their insurance? A $5,000 out of pocket max is 6% of an $80,000 income. That's a lot of money...and I chose $80,000 randomly; many, many families are living on much less than this.

Each family is one traffic accident, catastrophic illness or chronic medical condition away from disaster. I don't understand how politicians can tell Americans that we have the best health care system in the world. It just isn't true. And anyone who thinks so has probably never really have to avail themselves of the full spectrum of health care in America.

Politicians hate single issue voters. I'm a dual issue voter. I vote based on politician's position belief in a woman's right to choose and Health care reform.


Most Prepossessing said...

Just, wow. I can't imagine if you didn't have health insurance...

Exblick said...

I hear ya, M.P. And I have friends affected with bleeding disorders who have gone to extra-ordinary lengths to keep their kids healthy. When patients with bleeding disorders have to use government health care, they are often forced to switch medications, lower dosages, and limit infusions. It's a scary, scary thing.

Jennifer said...

I agree about universal health care (and, actually the pro-choice thing, too). It just seems crazy that in our country (with universal elementary education) that everyone does not have equal access to health care. Did you see that recent study of the healthcare of industrialized nations? The US wasn't anywhere near the top.

i do not know me said...

If you support choice for abortion, why not support choice in health care? Universal health care is not choice. It is the government dictating what you can and cannot do.