If insurers covered the full cost of therapeutic regimens aimed at preventing second heart attacks, it would save more than 4,700 lives annually in the U.S. and some $2.5 billion in costs, according to researchers at Brigham and Womens Hospital, Boston. Patients pay about 32% of the cost of medications such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and statins, the researchers reported in the January-February issue of Health Affairs. Under an optimistic estimate, full coverage would increase medication compliance to 76% from 50%, the researchers said. For every 100 post-myocardial infarction patients, that would result in 1.1 fewer deaths, 13.1 fewer nonfatal heart attacks and 6.6 fewer nonfatal readmissions for congestive heart failure. Under a conservative estimate, full coverage would increase compliance to 63%, resulting in 0.4 fewer deaths, 5.7 fewer nonfatal heart attacks and 1.8 fewer readmissions per 100 patients. Read the abstract. -- by Andis Robeznieks
Report: End copays for heart drugs
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