Patients Paying More for Drugs Under Obamacare

Obamacare has given millions more Americans health insurance, but they have to pay more for prescription drugs than people with employer-sponsored plans.

The average person with a plan bought in a marketplace set up under the Affordable Care Act has to pay 46 percent of total drug spending, according to research published Monday in the journal Health Affairs. That’s significantly more than for people with coverage through their workplace, who have to pay 20 percent of the costs on average.

The result, wrote Emory University researchers Kenneth Thorpe, Lindsay Allen and Peter Joski, is that Americans with marketplace plans fill fewer prescriptions to avoid out-of-pocket costs and, as a result, experience more serious problems over the long run.

“Our results show that out-of-pocket expenses for medications in a typical silver plan are twice as high as they are in the average employer-sponsored plan, resulting in fewer prescriptions filled and refilled and in higher spending on other medical services,” the authors wrote.