Affordable Treatment Proves Elusive.


Americans living with rheumatic disease face significant healthcare challenges, according to a national patient survey released by the American College of Rheumatology, Atlanta, Ga., and its Simple Tasks public awareness campaign.

Key survey findings include:

* Even though 90% of respondents report having health insurance coverage, nearly 60% say they had difficulty affording their medications or treatments in the past year.

* Almost half of patients receiving treatment for a rheumatic disease point out that their insurance company subjected them to step therapy, a process that requires them to try--and fail--treatments preferred by the insurance company before a doctor-prescribed option can be approved, even when a patients doctor is uncertain the insurer-preferred option will be effective.

* One-quarter of respondents report out-of-pocket costs greater than $1,000 per year for treatment, while six percent report out-of-pockets costs greater than $5,000 per year.

* Close to 60% of respondents currently are being treated by a rheumatologist or have been referred to seek treatment by a rheumatologist. However, two-thirds had to wait more than 30 days after referral before getting an initial appointment.

* Almost...

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