Insurance companies tend to discriminate between chronically ill patients and the others by charging the former group of people more money. Although the Obama administration forbids insurers from rejecting services to patients suffering from life-long diseases, insurance companies continue to do so in a smarter way. Instead of turning away from offering services to people suffering from conditions like diabetes and cancer, they charge them extra. This way, the companies continue to obey the federal health law while still disallowing people to choose certain insurance plans.
According to a recent study, hundreds of patient advocacy groups have claimed that insurers are still discriminating against people suffering from long-term diseases. This is because covering for life-long treatments proves quite expensive for insurance companies.
Most insurance companies categorize the payments they would offer to patients for their drugs on the basis of the drugs that they use. For some drugs, these companies offer a flat co-pay, which averages in the range of $10 and $40 per medication. In other cases, they offer to pay a certain percentage of the cost of the drug, which could be as high as 50%. The second plan is offered to people who choose to receive more expensive treatments. Cancer patients, or alike, hence, end up paying thousands of dollars from their own pocket, despite having health insurance.
A study providing details of the schemes offered by insurers was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers looked at as many as 48 health plans offered in 12 states. Although the study evaluated the results only for HIV drugs, it highlighted that the same applied to other major diseases. Some of the named diseases included cancer, mental illnesses, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic diseases. In fact, some health schemes offered on healthcare.gov made the drugs for these conditions virtually unaffordable by individual patients.