Huge drug cost disparities seen in health overhaul

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By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer alert: If you or someone you know needs costly medications and you're hoping President Barack Obama's health care law will meet the need, you may be in for a surprise.

Where you live could make a huge difference in what you'll pay.

To keep premiums low, some states are allowing insurers to charge patients a large share of the cost for expensive medications for cancer and other serious conditions.

These "specialty drugs" cost thousands of dollars a month.

In California, the patient's share would be up to 30 percent. New York is doing it differently, setting flat copayments for all medications. The highest is $70.

Critics fear most states will follow California's lead.

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