Health insurance co-pay accumulators little known, costly for patients


Julie Turner of Vandalia travels to the Madison Avenue Pharmacy in Springfield, which offers her twice-a-year treatments for weakened bones at a lower cost.

Julie Turner was just 17 when she needed powerful doses of radiation and chemotherapy to wipe out her stage 3 Hodgkin’s Disease

The harsh, 12 rounds of chemo and 60 radiation treatments at Ohio State University hospital in the 1970s came with two major side effects: She was sterile, and her bones became abnormally brittle, eventually requiring a twice-a-year regimen in the hospital for medication to reduce her risk for fractures. 

But now, her post-retirement health insurance no longer covers those $5,000 semi-annual treatments of Prolia she needs to protect her fragile bones.

At first, after finding a pharmacy in her hometown of Springfield that would give her the shots at a much lower cost, then landing a $1,500 grant from Prolia manufacturer Amgen to help offset the cost, Turner thought she had discovered a way around her insurance company.

Unfortunately, she did not.

The former school treasurer learned that Aetna wouldn’t count the $1,500 from Amgen toward her $4,000 maximum annual co-pay – even though Aetna isn’t contributing a dime for the Amgen drug. 



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