For months, residents of Iowa have wondered what medical condition could cost $1 million per month. That was after one customer paid more than one million in premiums per month. The answers to their unending questions came when Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield executives provided additional details about the policy. They did so during a recently held presentation at the Rotary Club of Des Moines.
According to the letter sent to about 30,000 customers, the Iowa-based insurance company raised its premiums by about 38 to 43% percent in 2017 since they had one particular client who was receiving care worth $1million per month. In the presentation made, the executive vice president of Wellmark, Laura Jackson, revealed that the said member suffered severe genetic disorder, but failed to provide full details about his condition.
Is $1 Million per Month Too Much?
According to Laura, the teenage boy suffers from one of the types of hemophilia, which is a genetically transmitted disorder that prevents blood from clotting. However, the Hemophilia Federation of America’s director of policy and government relations, Katie Verb, said that treating the condition can easily cost more than $250,000. However, Katie admitted that the federation has never heard of cases where the condition cost a million dollars per month.
Hemophilia is commonly treated using replacement therapy where specialists inject a concentration of clotting factor VIII (for type A hemophilia) or clotting factor IX (for type B hemophilia) into the blood of a patient who has this ailment. These proteins are indeed very expensive. Moreover, the infusion process itself costs much money, too. That is why premiums for this kind of treatment are high. According to the vice president of the National Hemophilia Foundation, Michele Rice, it is possible for the medical bills to hike up to one million per month if the patient’s case is complicated. If that is the case, then the patient is probably going through an intense treatment process.
Hemophilia Causes and Risk Factors
Hemophilia is an inherited condition, which means that kids get if from their parents. The ailment occurs because of clotting factors VIII, IX, XI gene mutation resulting in ineffective clotting proteins. In cases where these factors are absent, blood clotting becomes a problem and even minor bleeding is hard to control. In most cases, hemophilia is predominant in men. According to a report released by CDC, almost 20,000 people residing in the USA are currently living with hemophilia.