Due to supply chain issues and staffing shortages, many industries have seen prices skyrocket since the onset of the pandemic. One such area that has been affected is the pharmaceutical industry. But the inflation rate has been disproportionately impacting medications for many years. While prices differ quite a bit across different classes of medications, prescriptions in general have seen prices jump by as much as 3% in the past two years. This may not seem like a lot in the long-term. But, since 2006, these premiums have consistently increased at nearly double the rate of general inflation.
Inflation was previously more of a concern for specialty drugs used to treat very rare conditions that didn’t respond to other treatments. Presently, these price changes are affecting nearly all medications, including standard prescriptions that assist with high cholesterol. Some specialty drugs, particularly those that treat cancer, have jumped in cost by as much as 82% since 2013.
It’s clear that inflation has crept into many aspects of the healthcare industry, and that these changes are not getting better any time soon. By tracking economic trends, analysts are hoping to bring light to increases and eventually implement policies that allow for more regulation and leniency in terms of pricing. At the very least, it’s essential that the people who rely on these medications understand when increases will occur so they don’t drastically impact their financial
An obvious consequence of these price increases is that they increase the chances that someone will not be able to access medications they need, which also translates into a large-scale impact on the health insurance industry. Many people in need of high-cost medications may turn to supplemental health care insurances such as the Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Part D to get better and more affordable coverage for medications that they usually must pay for out-of-pocket.
These plans have grown in popularity in recent years, particularly as the Baby Boomer Generation is aging and developing more health concerns that require treatment. It is becoming more likely that people of all ages will need assistance paying for medications since the cost of some standardized prescriptions are becoming less manageable.
This desire for additional coverage is expected to continue, and likely even increase, as a result of inflated prescription costs. As a result, insurance companies across the board will likely experience growing numbers of subscribers who are looking for more ways to save money on their healthcare. Insurance companies should be prepared to provide people of all ages with added coverage to ensure they are able to manage their health in an effective and cost-efficient manner.