Medical Co-Pays Going Up

Richard Sharp, Pharmacist at Avondale Pharmacy
Richard Sharp, Pharmacist at Avondale Pharmacy

Amarillo residents are digging deeper into their own pockets when seeing a Doctor, Dentist or filling a prescription drug. The reason ... higher insurance co-payments and deductibles effective January 1st. 

People can expect to pay $5 dollars more per doctors visit regardless of the type of insurance they have. Some co-pays are going as high as $35 dollars. Medicare patients are being hit with co-pays and higher deductibles too.

"The co-pays usually run 5 or 10 dollars on the medicare co-pays and the deductible increased to $135 for doctor's visits." Dr. Plummers Office Manager Karon Smith said.

You can also expect to pay more next time you visit your local pharmacy because increases are across the board for both generic and brand name medications. 

"Co-pays have increased some where they were paying zero for a lot of co-pays for generics  there have been a dollar and two increases on that.  They increased the deductible this year from  most companies from $250 to $275." Pharmacist Richard Sharp said.

In addition to increased co-pays and deductibles, some insurance companies are taking away your power to choose what type of medication you want. 

"There are plans out there that, if there is a generic available then they want the patient to  get the generic and in some instances they're not paying for the brand name whereas before they have done that in the past. They're not wanting to pay for it anymore even if the patient pays a higher co-pay they don't want to cover it at all."  

Seniors or people with chronic illnesses like Yolanda Vasquez are taking a bigger punch. Vasquez is a senior citizen who has Diabetes and other chronic illnesses and takes several medications daily. 

"The co-payment has gone up on my prescriptions."
Yolanda says they've gone up as much as $30 dollars for one prescription. She also says going to see the doctor costs her more too. 

"We were paying $40 dollars for regular doctor, we going to be paying $55 everytime we visit ." 
One local pharmacist says the increases will have a trickle down affect. 

"Not everybody starts over in January so people may not feel the sting for a few more months until their plans actually start over."

Seniors on fixed incomes and people with chronic illnesses like yolanda will be hit the hardest.  But Yolanda says she will just have to make do. 

"We just have cut down on other expenses that we will normally do in order to accomadate the medical needs because we will have to take our medications regardless or what we can or can not do."