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  Friday October 24th, 2014    

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We need health care reform (10/14/2012)
From: David Girod

Winona

A little over one month ago, in the news, was a story about an Arizona woman who suffered a sting from a scorpion in her garage. It was hiding in a box of air conditioner filters. She was, they said, allergic to the venom. So treatment was of utmost importance as soon as possible. She received two doses of anti-venom at Chandler Regional Medical Center. All well and good. Surely it saved her life. The shock came when she received her emergency room bill: $83,000 ($40,000 per dose plus other charges).

The hospital explained to her that the bill represents out-of-network costs. A phrase I’m all too familiar with when dealing with my medical bills. But her case seems extreme.

Her insurance carrier, Humana, paid $57,000, still leaving her a balance of $26,000. I heard she had trouble paying the balance. Her physician told her about an anti-venom medicine, Anascorp, available in Mexico. While he didn’t tell her the cost, I heard it was $100/dose [in Mexico]—far less than $83,000!

I believe this helps raise the issue of inflated medicine prices. And why I firmly believe we need some sort of health care reform in this country.

As an aside to this story, people living out west as she does should be aware that we as humans deciding to build in their “home” should be mindful of their presence. Those creatures were there first. Tarantulas were a common sight to my parents who wintered every year in Yuma, Arizona. The bite of which is like a bee sting. I’m not trying to minimize her suffering, both physical and economic.

Ed. Note: Mr. Girod is right, but the company that makes it said in a release: “Our Patient Financial Services team is working directly with Ms. Edmonds to adjust the high out-of-network cost of the AnascorpTM antivenom she received…we are also currently reviewing our pricing of this expensive specialty medication…While we recognize that AnascorpTM antivenom is expensive, it is a relatively cost-effective alternative to hospitalization to treat severe scorpion sting reactions. 

 

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