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Vets Often Forgo Medication When Co-Pays Rise
Date:1/12/2009

o designing cost-sharing policies may adversely affect certain higher-risk patients."

As an alternative to an across-the-board increase, Doshi suggested linking co-payments to individual needs: "specifically, lower patient co-payments for higher expected therapeutic benefit and higher co-payments for lower therapeutic benefit." She called that idea "a more promising approach."

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said she thinks the study highlights the need for reform that would make medical treatment and medication available to all.

"This paper provides striking evidence that co-payments for medications are potentially lethal," Woolhandler said. "Even a seemingly modest increase in the cost of vital medications discourages many patients from taking medications that we know prevent heart attacks and strokes."

The finding "adds further evidence that Americans need full coverage, without co-payments or deductibles, if we are to realize the full promise of today's medical advances," she stressed.

More information

For more about VA health-care benefits, visit the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.



SOURCES: Jalpa A. Doshi, Ph.D., research assistant professor of medicine, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia; Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Jan. 27, 2009, Circulation


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