Has anyone lived or worked in the US and know the crazy prices of drugs in the US?
Yes, and yes.
We all know it's not perfect, but no matter what your opinion may be of the NHS, fight for it with all you have!
Between us, my wife and I pay close to $400 per month form our combined health and dental insurance.
Each time we go to the doctor, we still have to pay between $20-$50, which is a co-pay. A trip to the ER would cost $350, as would an ambulance, if required.
On top of that, the insurance has various levels of deductibles (excess), ranging from $3,000 for in-network providers to $10,000 for out-of-network providers, before everything becomes totally covered. That means we get billed for a percentage of any treatments until those amounts are met. The deductibles restart at $0 every year, so you may have to payed up to $9,999.99 until December 31st just for out--of-network services, but if you then need treatment on January 1st that amount counts for nothing.
The medicines are just as bad. We also have to pay a co-pay for every prescription which can start at a couple of dollars up to a thousand, depending on what medicine it is. The average prescription is around $12, and these payments count towards those deductibles.
Last February I went to an Urgent Care clinic with flu-like symptoms. I was told that the insurance would cover a flu test as the clinic was in-network and was given 2 Tylenol (which is a brand named paracetamol, but they were likely to be just the generic version) while I was there and paid around $20 for a prescription for Tamiflu. I also paid a $50 co-pay on the day.
The next day, the flu test results came back negative, so the Tamiflu was of no use.
Two weeks later, I was sent a copy of the bill by the insurance company, which showed they wouldn't be paying anything towards the treatment because the flu test was deemed unnecessary, as was the Tamiflu (even though the CDC wants us to do everything possible to reduce the spread of flu). The only thing they covered was the doctor's charge, but that was again subject to my deductible.
The worst part of the bill was a $60 charge for those 2 paracetamol. You can buy a bottle of 1000 over the counter for $15!!
I'm still awaiting that actual bill, which was for over $600 in total, and the virus that I did actually have wasn't even treated. It won't get paid!
I've also needed various blood tests and scans for a suspected gallbladder issue, which the insurance insists you do in order from lowest price to highest, so I had to pay over $2,000 towards that deductible, and again got no actual treatments to address the problem before the end of last year. Now I have to pay towards this years deductible if I want to proceed with further tests or treatments.
The total amount billed to our insurance company last year was over $25,000, of which we've had to contribute over $4,000, on top of our almost $5,000 yearly premiums. Of that, my wife's required monthly medication costs would have been another $2,500 without the insurance.
One of the only sensible things the legendary joe-90 ever said to me was that I would come back to Britain if I needed an operation. At this rate he may yet be right!
Protect the NHS!