Out-of-pocket costs are on the rise for commonly prescribed neurologic medications

Brian C. Callaghan*, Evan Reynolds, Mousumi Banerjee, Kevin A. Kerber, Lesli E. Skolarus, Brandon Magliocco, Gregory J. Esper, James F. Burke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

ObjectiveTo determine out-of-pocket costs for neurologic medications in 5 common neurologic diseases.MethodsUtilizing a large, privately insured, health care claims database from 2004 to 2016, we captured out-of-pocket medication costs for patients seen by outpatient neurologists with multiple sclerosis (MS), peripheral neuropathy, epilepsy, dementia, and Parkinson disease (PD). We compared out-of-pocket costs for those in high-deductible health plans compared to traditional plans and explored cumulative out-of-pocket costs over the first 2 years after diagnosis across conditions with high- (MS) and low/medium-cost (epilepsy) medications.ResultsThe population consisted of 105,355 patients with MS, 314,530 with peripheral neuropathy, 281,073 with epilepsy, 120,720 with dementia, and 90,801 with PD. MS medications had the fastest rise in monthly out-of-pocket expenses (mean [SD] $15 [$23] in 2004, $309 [$593] in 2016) with minimal differences between medications. Out-of-pocket costs for brand name medications in the other conditions also rose considerably. Patients in high-deductible health plans incurred approximately twice the monthly out-of-pocket expense as compared to those not in these plans ($661 [$964] vs $246 [$472] in MS, $40 [$94] vs $18 [$46] in epilepsy in 2016). Cumulative 2-year out-of-pocket costs rose almost linearly over time in MS ($2,238 [$3,342]) and epilepsy ($230 [$443]).ConclusionsOut-of-pocket costs for neurologic medications have increased considerably over the last 12 years, particularly for those in high-deductible health plans. Out-of-pocket costs vary widely both across and within conditions. To minimize patient financial burden, neurologists require access to precise cost information when making treatment decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2604-E2613
JournalNeurology
Volume92
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - May 28 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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