FCAAIA Notes: There are only 2 proven and natural cures for airway allergy: Avoidance of the allergens and allergy shots. As effective as injections are, we recognize they are an inconvenience.  Studies from many years ago show that in the long run, injections coast LESS than staying ion medications, particularly if you add in the indirect costs of illness such as lost time from work. But, when we talk about costs, we are talking about TOTAL costs (what you insurance company pays plus your out-of-pocket costs).

Unfortunately, the current state of medical insurance is that your co-pays and deductibles are higher and your insurance company pays less every year (after all, isn’t it their business to increase profits?). We encourage patients to stay on injections despite the costs, as it is the best long term treatment option.  Patients on immunotherapy require far less medication, so the long-term costs of injections are off-set by less out-of-pocket costs for medications.  And, let’s not forget about your improved quality of life on allergy shots!

(Source: July 28, 2015. Adapted from Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2015;doi:10.1016/j.anai.2015.06.018.)

Patients with allergies are more likely to discontinue subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy prematurely if they have inadequate or no medical insurance, according to study results.

“Patient adherence declines if the patient has to pay for the cost of the treatment,” Ravi Vaswani, BS, a medical student at New York University School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote.

Vaswani and colleagues contacted 555 patients with allergic rhinitis or asthma who discontinued immunotherapy before the completion of the prescribed duration — anywhere from 3 to 5 years — and received their final injection from January 2008 through September 2013 to see why patients discontinued therapy.

The researchers reported patients primarily discontinued therapy because of a lack of adequate insurance or none at all (40%).

Sixty-three percent of these patients required copayment at each visit, 14% had a high deductible and 14% either lost or had no insurance.

Other reasons that lead to an early discontinuation of therapy included inconvenience of travel (15%), change of residence (8%) and concurrent health problems (5%).

The researchers stressed if cost of treatment shifted to insurers more patients would have a better quality of life.

“If health insurers cover the cost of subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy fully, it will clearly allow for better use of this treatment option,” the researchers wrote. “This will not only improve quality of life of the patient and lessen the direct and indirect costs related to the disease but also will be economical to the health care system.”

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