Psoriasis patients plagued by out-of-pocket costs despite insurance coverage

A new study conducted by University of California, Davis dermatologist April Armstrong, MD, pokes at the trends and spending habits of patients with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. And although most people suffering from the condition are covered by some form of health insurance (91 percent), Armstrong's research concluded that out-of-pocket costs for the afflicted are out-of-the-ordinary in regards to steepness.

Researchers under Armstrong’s direction pored over eight years of National Psoriasis Foundation records and patient studies to gauge possible access-to-care shortcomings and to conceptualize more fully the out-of-pocket expectancy for those with psoriasis. More than 5,600 patient experiences were analyzed, and from the vast pool, Armstrong and company were able to ascertain the following:

The results are in…

All information and data courtesy of the National Psoriasis Foundation. Presentation by PhysBizTech.

Additionally, the researchers found that a majority of psoriasis patients spent $2,500 more per year in out-of-pocket expense to treat their disease. With an estimated 7.5 million people in the United States affected by psoriasis — 30 percent of whom will develop psoriatic arthritis as the disease progresses — the out-of-pocket burdens are widespread and adding up evermore with the passage of time. 

“Unfortunately, copayments for biologics and phototherapy, two commonly prescribed treatment methods for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, can be upwards of $600 per month," said Randy Beranek, National Psoriasis Foundation president and CEO, in a news release. "We are working with state lawmakers and insurance companies to help lower these costs and remove other barriers that limit access to care."

Analysts also discovered that women were 1.5 times more likely to seek care to manage their condition — predominantly from a specialist — than their male counterparts. This is yet another issue for healthcare providers and legislators to alleviate together on behalf of bettering national wellness, Beranek noted.

"Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are serious systemic diseases that are associated with heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, obesity and depression," Beranek concluded. "Studies show that treating psoriasis can actually reduce risk of some of these other health conditions. Therefore, we must ensure that everyone with psoriatic diseases has access to the treatments they need."

Find the study as well as other informative materials to lend to patients on psoriasis care here.