RSS

Category Archives: cost

Aricept Beneficial for Alzheimer’s Patients, But Expensive

I get asked this question frequently: “Does your mother take Aricept”? When I answer yes, I get the follow-up. “Does it work?”

I am confident that Aricept works well for my mother. There is little doubt that it has slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and helped smooth out her behavior. I know from personal experience it works well with other persons suffering from Alzheimer’s but not all of them. I also learned it is critical if you suspect Alzheimer’s or dementia to get to the doctor and get on the appropriate medication as soon as possible. Delaying this decision can be more harmful then you could ever imagine.

Previously, I wrote about author Terry Pratchett, who suffers from posterior cortical atrophy — a rare form of Alzheimer’s. In the article Terry says the drug had a dramatic positive effect on him. Terry is raising the issue in the UK about the cost of Aricept and whether it should be free to those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Aricept isn’t cheap. Our cost is $166.29 for a 30-day supply or approximately $2,000 a year. Medicare covers the first $2510 of prescribed medications before you get into the so-called doughnut hole (we pay the out of pocket co-pay of $25, so the actual coverage is less then $2510). Paying for Aricept plus my mother’s other medications gets us into the doughnut hole early in the year. When you get into the doughnut hole you pay for the next $1540 in prescribed medications. This means zero coverage between $2510 and $4050. This is how Medicare works.

Our personal physician helps by giving us samples of drugs when he has them. Amazingly, he has not had Aricept samples available to us this entire year (14 visits through August). It gets me to wondering about Pfizer. I guess they intend to make as much as they can before Aricept goes generic in 2010. When that happens Alzheimer’s patients all over the world will benefit greatly. We used to pay over $100 a month for Zocor (simvastatin) but last year it went generic and it has now dropped to $10 per month (thank goodness).

They pay a similar price for Aricept in the UK so it is easy to understand why Terry Pratchett is upset. He is fighting the good fight in the UK.

I want to make it clear, I have nothing against Pfizer. The drug is fantastic, I believe in Aricept, my mother has benefited, and I believe Pfizer should make a profit. But, I continue to wonder why Medicare doesn’t negotiate a better price. Most likely Medicare is the biggest purchaser of Aricept in the world.

Pfizer does offer an assistance program. If you have any type of prescription drug coverage, you won’t qualify. If you do not have coverage and your income is under $25,000 you might. You can visit the Pfizer website’s Patient Assistance Program or call 1-800-226-2072 to find out more. Learn more about Aricept.

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on August 28, 2008 in alzheimer's, Aricept, bob demarco, cost, health, results, science

 

Employers Pick Workers’ Pockets on Health Insurance

That misunderstanding is called the “myth of shared responsibility” by Ezekiel Emanuel, the ethics guy, and Victor Fuchs, the money guy, in a commentary in JAMA. They explain that the cost of health insurance comes not from employers’ profits but from employee wages. Employers adjust for rising health care costs by essentially docking pay, and “the increasing cost of health care has resulted in relatively flat real wages for 30 years,” they write.



Employers Pick Workers’ Pockets on Health Insurance

To those of you who have health insurance through your job, a bioethicist and an economist pose this question: Who do you think pays for your health coverage?

Most people who get insurance at work believe that it’s the boss. But the notion that employers really pay for insurance for their employees simply isn’t true.

That misunderstanding is called the “myth of shared responsibility” by Ezekiel Emanuel, the ethics guy, and Victor Fuchs, the money guy, in a commentary in JAMA. They explain that the cost of health insurance comes not from employers’ profits but from employee wages. Employers adjust for rising health care costs by essentially docking pay, and “the increasing cost of health care has resulted in relatively flat real wages for 30 years,” they write.

Why does the myth matter? Emanuel says that people’s belief that they’re getting a free benefit is a big reason why they are resistant to a major overhaul of the health care system. But employer-based health care is economically inefficient, Emanuel tells the Health Blog. A substantial chunk of the money goes to pay for things that have nothing to do with health care, such as underwriting, sales and marketing.

Uwe Reinhardt, a Princeton health economist, likens the employer-based health insurance to a garden party where a very slick pickpocket steals your wallet and then buys you roses and chocolates. “You’d be very grateful,” Reinhardt tells the Health Blog. Employers “are pickpockets who very skillfully take it out of your paycheck. Then they say, ‘Now genuflect.’ ”

A system with a common, government-levied tax and a voucher-based private delivery system makes better economic sense, some economists believe. “It would be much clearer that as costs increase, people will ask more carefully, ‘Are we getting something that’s worth it?’ ” Emanuel says. If someone else is taking care of the restaurant check, “you don’t ask so clearly what is this costing. If, on the other hand, you’re paying the bill, you ask more critical questions.”

 

Assisted living costs for Alzheimer’s patient is tax deductible

clipped from www.usatoday.com

Q: My mother just went into an assisted living facility due to Alzheimer’s. It costs over $4500 per month. Are any portion of these expenses tax deductible?

Answer from AICPA member Kenneth J. Strauss: Sorry about your mother but the good news is that the entire $4,500 is fully tax deductible as a medical expense.

The rules can get pretty complicated but it is clear that Alzheimer’s disease is a severe cognitive impairment which is the threshold for determining if the taxpayer is entitled to a full medical deduction.

Like all medical deductions the total amount of medical deductions is an itemized deduction. The medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of her adjusted gross income are deductible.

Depending on how high her income is will determine the full tax benefit. This might be a year to take some extra money from her retirement account. If your mother does not have the resources and you or another family member is paying then you should see if your mom can qualify as a dependent.

blog it

 
 
%d bloggers like this: