|With Insurance Coverage: Typically Prescription Copays||Without Insurance: $740-$1,200 Per Year|
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common but serious condition in which the force of blood pushing against artery walls rises and remains elevated. Over time this may damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys or other organs. However, once it is detected, high blood pressure can be controlled and treatment may prevent health problems.
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- For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays and coinsurance of 10%-50% or more.
- For patients not covered by health insurance, hypertension treatment typically costs between $740 and $1,200 or more per year, with an annual average cost of $454 for doctor's visits, and $407 for prescription medication, according to a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality .
- Treatment will depend on the health and specific needs of the patient, but typically includes one or more medications to lower high blood pressure, such as Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors . According to Consumer Reports the monthly cost for ACEIs varies from less than $10 to more than $100, depending on the specific drug, its dosage, and whether a patient requests a brand name or generic version. For example, a 40 mg tablet of generic Lisinopril costs $17, while a 10 mg tablet of Enalapril (Vasotec) costs $96.
- Doctors may also prescribe beta blockers which cause the heart to beat more slowly and less forcefully, thus reducing blood pressure. According to Consumer Reports , these drugs typically range in cost from $4-$168 or more a month. For example, 25 mg of generic Atenolol costs $6, while 10 mg of Bisoprolol (Zebeta) costs $112.
- Calcium channel blockers may be prescribed to relax and widen blood vessels. According to Consumer Reports , the monthly cost for these drugs varies from less than $20 to more than $200.
- Other possible medications include Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) , which according to the The National Center for Biotechnology Information range in cost from $30-$60 a month.
What should be included:|
- A doctor will take a patient's blood pressure to see if they fall into the normal, prehypertension or stage 1 or stage 2 categories of the condition.
- According to the Mayo Clinic , a doctor will likely take two to three blood pressure readings each over the course of two or more appointments before diagnosing a patient with high blood pressure.
- A doctor may also recommend additional tests such as blood tests ($8-$150) or an electrocardiogram ($500-$3000), also known as an EKG or ECG.
- According to Consumer Reports patients respond to the various ACEIs differently, and may need to try more than one if their doctor determines that an initial prescription is not working well.
- Since lifestyle measures can help to control high blood, patients who are diagnosed with the condition may benefit from working with a nutritionist to improve diet.
Shopping for high blood pressure treatment:
- Discount outlets such as Costco and Walmart often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs at significant savings. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
- Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% of more to uninsured/cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA, for example, patients without health insurance may qualify for a 45% discount off billed charges. They'll also be offered an additional 10% discount if payment is made within 10 days of receiving a bill.
- For patients without health insurance, many drug manufacturers provide free or discounted medications through patient assistance programs. Or, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance can offer help to patients who qualify.
- The Agency for Healthcare Research and QualityAHRQ offers a review of available research on hypertension medications to assist patients in choosing the right ones.
- Consumer Reports' Best Buy Drugs program offers buying advice to help patients get the best value for prescription drugs.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a hospital comparison tool that lists hospitals near a chosen zip code, how far away they are and whether they offer emergency service.
| Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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