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Rising care costs Average out-of-pocket costs associated with rebates were highest for uninsured patients ($39), followed by Medicare patients ($13), and then those with commercial insurance ($6). (Photo: Shutterstock)

Drug rebates for insurers often are associated with increases in out-of-pocket costs for patients, according to a new University of Washington study that examined cost and price data on more than 400 branded drugs.

“We know that list prices have been increasing quite dramatically as have rebates, but no one has looked into the association between rebates and out-of-pocket costs,” Kai Yeung, the study’s lead author and an affiliate assistant professor at the CHOICE Institute in the UW School of Pharmacy, said in a statement issued by the university. ”Increases in out-of-pocket costs are associated with rebates; however, rebates also help keep premium costs down. [Consequently], there has been inadequate focus on the impact the pricing mechanism has on the uninsured, who are most affected.”

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