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Ross: Retiring sometimes requires playing prescription drug roulette

(AP)

A listener named Robert emailed me saying he’d been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was prescribed a drug called Zytiga. And since he’d been planning to retire, he checked to see what this drug would cost once he’s off his company’s health plan.

He said “Dave you wouldn’t believe it.” I said “Robert come into the studio.”

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“Well, you know it was $4,000 to $11,000 a month,” Robert said. “And so that’s just ridiculous. I mean there goes my retirement.”

So he called up one of those Medicare Advantage plans and asked if they covered Zytiga.

“And they said ‘well what is that for?’ and I said ‘prostate cancer,'” Robert recalled. “’Oh well that’s a pre-existing condition we don’t cover that.’”

So he kept shopping, and the price kept dropping.

“And in India, you can get it for $960,” he noted.

But he still felt ripped off. So he called his employer’s HR department, described his nightmare, and was finally told he could retire, remain on his current health plan, and pay the same as if he was still working.

“Exactly, so it’s a $30 co-pay,” he said.

So now that’s $30 instead of $11,000. What a system, right? But because Robert kept making phone calls, it looks like he will be able to retire and stay alive.

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