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Most Obamacare Plans Shoulder Cost Of Specialty Drugs

Most of the health insurance plans on the Obamacare exchanges next year will require consumers to pick up a large share of the cost of specialty drugs. A Kaiser Health News analysis shows North Carolina is an exception though. 

The spiraling cost of prescription drugs is a major driver of health care spending. Specialty drugs are the most expensive kind. They include treatments for HIV, Hepatitis C, and some cancers.

Insurance companies are trying to control those costs by making consumers pick up more of the tab. A Kaiser Health News analysis found that since the Obamacare exchanges first opened, plans that make people pay at least 30 percent of the cost of specialty drugs have grown from 37 percent to 63 percent of all plans.

The percentage in South Carolina is even higher. But North Carolina is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Only 20 percent of its plans on healthcare.gov make people cover such a large share of specialty drugs.  

The other ways North Carolina stands out on the Obamacare exchanges are with high premium increases and little competition. Republicans are vowing to dismantle the exchanges along with the rest of the Affordable Care Act. They've indicated that likely won't affect coverage next year though.