September Newsletter

Affordable Care Act and Skin Cancer Screens: Does it get covered?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010. Within the bill are provisions requiring insurers to provide full coverage for certain preventative services. Skin cancer in the U.S. has risen by 300% since 1994. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Since the annual number of patients with skin cancer exceeds all other cancers combined then it is reasonable to assume that skin cancer screening should be included in the preventative care provision in the ACA, right? Unfortunately not.

Although skin cancer is an epidemic, the ACA does not require insurers to cover the cost of skin cancer screenings. Patients are held responsible in paying for any deductible, co-pay, or co-insurance amount applicable. For a complete list of preventive services covered under the ACA, please refer to the following website

If your insurance does not cover skin cancer screening or you have a high deductible plan, there are other alternatives to receive free skin checks. Organizations such as the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, or Skin Cancer Foundation offer free annual skin checks. Please visit their websites to find their scheduled events in your area.

The Rise of Specialty Pharmacies: Combating High Medication Prices

Generic medications are often prescribed as a first route in the treatment of various dermatologic conditions. Recent price increases of four- or six-fold on generic medications used in dermatology has both baffled and placed dermatologists in a precarious position. For example clobetasol, a generic topical steroid used for the treated of inflammatory skin conditions has risen from $60 to $400 for a tube. An article in the New York Times, described the rise in prices on dermatologic medications as a complete mystery. Some speculate since dermatology is considered a low-profile specialty in healthcare, pharmaceutical companies can increase prices without attracting significant public attention.

Specialty Pharmacies have risen in popularity as an alternative for patients to receive affordable dermatologic medications, especially for patients with high deductible plans. Some well-known specialty pharmacies used in dermatology include Meier’s, DFW Wellness, Bluegrass, Philidor, or Irmat. Through these pharmacies, patients can often times receive branded products at a lower cost than generics sold through commercial pharmacies.