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Rising Healthcare Costs: Houston, We Have a Problem

Last updated: November 2023

The problem has been around for a while and seems to worsen yearly. It is the rising cost of health insurance. We are officially in the open enrollment period for many healthcare plans. Each year, I get my renewal notice in the mail and am first shocked like a deer in headlights at reviewing the document sent to me showing the increase in my monthly premium

Open enrollment health insurance

Then anger sets in. How is my family of 5 with a permanently disabled young adult expected to afford a monthly premium close to $2,000 per month? This is before a $10,000 per person deductible is met for any coverage. I don't care how much money you make; this is getting ridiculous.

Costs are rising every year

My husband and I are essentially self-employed, so I don't work for a company that offers healthcare benefits. We must pay for private health insurance policies providing full medical health coverage should we need to be hospitalized for an extended period. If you have cancer, you know this is a necessity and not an option to go without coverage. The alternative is bankruptcy.

Different definitions of breast cancer treatment

I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer 10 years ago. Today, I remain on Arimidex to prevent the cancer from returning. Insurance considers this "still in treatment," yet the cancer community and most oncology professionals consider me to be in remission and post-treatment. I pause with a question mark over my head. Which is it? Active treatment or remission?

Removing my ovaries due to costs

Shortly after completing chemotherapy and radiation, as well as reconstructive surgeries, I made the financial decision to have my ovaries removed due to the high-cost Lupron injection that I was receiving each month. My goal was to not meet my $10,000 deductible by the second month of the year.

Our health insurance system is failing patients in cancer treatment if we have to decide to remove bodily organs (ovaries can have heart health benefits) to save the cost of our out-of-pocket deductibles.

When will the costs stop increasing?

I understand the purpose of the Affordable Care Act. I know that underserved communities need access to the same quality health care that I and so many others receive. My question is, when will the annual cost hikes end for people like myself? 

When will the rising cost of health insurance plateau? I haven't seen anything but year-over-year rate hikes, and eventually, we will be at a point where no one can afford to have access to healthcare.

Pharmacies are understaffed

I sit in many roundtable discussions about the rising cost of prescription medication, where everyone points fingers at the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) for the problems that patients and pharmacies face with pricing and reimbursement.

Today, I talked with my local pharmacist, and she apologized for not having the 3 refills ready for pickup. They are understaffed and overworked.

What is your experience with healthcare costs?

I would love to hear from advanced breast cancer patients about your experience with health insurance and how you handle the increasing cost of healthcare in general. The stress of it all is real. What can be done to make real change for people with pre-existing conditions?

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