ANN ARBOR, Mich. — In an age where medical expenses are skyrocketing, a free online tool promises financial relief for prostate cancer patients, potentially saving over $9,000 in drug costs.
“Patients with Medicare Part D have dozens of different drug plans available to choose from, but most patients, unfortunately, are not aware of this. If they compare estimated costs, they could save thousands of dollars each year in drug costs. This could make a huge impact for patients with limited resources,” Dr. Benjamin Pockros from Michigan Medicine explains.
Researchers from the University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center analyzed the out-of-pocket costs for two prescription drugs, Zytiga (abiraterone) and Xtandi (enzalutamide), used in advanced prostate cancer care. They utilized the Medicare Part D Plan Finder to compare costs within 12 different regions across the U.S. with prominent prostate cancer programs.
Out-of-pocket costs for Zytiga ranged from $1,379 to $13,274 across all Part D plans, with an average potential saving of $9,321 in the 12 cities studied. For Xtandi, the cost ranged from $9,854 to $13,061, with a median potential saving of $1,839.
“We know cancer can take a devastating physical, emotional, and financial toll on patients. For those enrolled in Medicare Part D, this plan finder is free and easy to use, and hopefully one small step in improving cancer care in our country,” Dr. Pockros adds in a media release.
The tool’s potential to identify significant savings emphasizes its value for prostate cancer patients, especially when considering the current landscape of medical expenses. By being proactive and using available resources, patients can greatly reduce their out-of-pocket expenses. This becomes increasingly crucial given that fewer than 30 percent of patients report comparing drug plan pricing. The study underscores the necessity of healthcare providers to inform their patients about such tools.
Medicare offers an annual open enrollment period from October to December, where beneficiaries can change plans. With over 49 million Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D and up to 50 different plans to select from, the need for a comprehensive tool like the Medicare Part D Plan Finder becomes indispensable.
This study highlights not just the importance of research but also the practical application of its findings. By merely being aware of the resources available and making informed choices, prostate cancer patients can save thousands on their medication. As the healthcare community strives for better cancer care, integrating such tools and patient awareness is a step in the right direction.
The study is published in The Journal of Urology—Urology Practice.
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