Costs of specialty drugs concerns providers

Nov 5, 2014 | Healthcare Accounts Receivable

Specialty drugs represent the fastest growing costs in health care.  Some of the most recent treatments can fetch prices that reach six figures or more. These drugs were formulated to treat diseases that affect smaller populations, such as specific cancers or multiple sclerosis, meaning that producers must charge each patient more to recoup their investments. 

Although the Harvard Business Review notes that these specialty drugs make up only 1 percent of total prescriptions in the country, they have become a heated source of a national debate. Many are questioning the fairness of the decision to burden those suffering from potentially fatal diseases with treatment costs that even wealthy families may struggle to meet. 

However, insurance providers note that these high costs affect more than those that require the prescriptions. According to Brendan Buck, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), all subscribers are affected by these prices. 

"Pricing like this drives up premiums for everyone, decimates public programs, threatens jobs, and more importantly, puts promising treatments — like this one — out of reach for many in our society," Buck explained in a public statement. 

While these drugs are certainly effective, their costs can put them out of reach for many Americans. A significant percentage of those who are prescribed these drugs also do not complete the treatment because of financial concerns. 

The rising cost of specialty drugs is a concern for all participants in the health care system, from patients to their insurance providers. Care facilities that prescribe these drugs are also put at risk when the costs of care are unable to be reimbursed. 

If this has become the case at your facility, the decision to outsource collection of accounts receivable can help improve healthcare revenue cycle management, and result in an improved patient-provider relationship.