More MS news articles for June 2000
Insurance covers Drug Costs For Three-Quarters
Private insurance has increasingly been picking up the bills for prescription
medicines. Only about one-quarter of Americans' total drug costs are now
paid out of pocket, experts report.
Today, government figures show, 77 percent of Americans under 65 have health
insurance, either public or private, and 99 percent of those with insurance
have some drug coverage.
As of 1970, only 8 percent of the nation's total drug costs were covered
by insurance -- a figure which had risen to 20 percent by 1980, and 34
percent by 1990.
The proportion has risen steadily in the 1990s, to the point where half
of all spending on prescription drugs was covered by private insurance
The nation's per capita spending on prescription drugs has increased to
more than $300 this year, compared to $26 in 1970.
Another 21 percent was paid with public money -- mostly for people in the
military and those covered by Medicaid or veterans' programs.
The Department of Health and Human Services expects the fraction of
drug costs paid out of pocket to keep dropping over the next 10 years,
even if Medicare still excludes drug coverage.
Source: David E. Rosenbaum, "Health Insurance Provides Buffer to Rising
Drug Prices for Most Americans," New York Times, June 1, 2000.
For text http://www.nytimes.com/library/politics/060100prescription-drugs.html