Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Prescription woes...

At the support group meetings I hear about prescription issues all of the time. Many of the people I have met do not have insurance coverage, or have inadequate prescription coverage. Some people cannot work full time so they are not able to keep benefits, and then have the issue of having to pay out of pocket for their medication.

I have been lucky enough to be able to work full time and keep insurance benefits even during the most trying years. My co-pay for my medications has never been very high. I just switched to a high deductible plan a couple of months ago after our daughter joined our family, thinking that it will be a better plan for us and most economical in the end. When factoring in medications or what they call "maintenance" medications, it is always risky to switch plans or not be very clear on what your coverage is for prescription costs.

This new plan has my prescription co-pay for one drug at $770 for a 90 day prescription. I about fell off of my chair when I heard the cost. At the end of the insurance plan year, I will have to see if I come out ahead in paying a lower premium with a high deductible plan. With the adoption of our daughter, came orthopedic appointments, pediatric cardiology appointments, and a recent trip to the ER for a subluxation of the elbow!

I am still so thankful to have insurance regardless of what my out of pocket cost is at this point. But I think often of the people who do not have insurance or have inadequate covereage. And I am listening carefully as our politicians talk "healthcare".

I have met many people who do not have prescription covereage, who do pay out of pocket costs for their medication. Many of them do not know that there are programs available, some through the drug companies themselves, that may assist them in affording their medication. I always hate to hear people say that they decided to take half the dose of their prescribed medication so that they can save money by getting twice the amount out of their monthly prescription. This is obviously not the smartest thing to do, yet I do realize that there are times when people may feel very desperate about things. And it amazes me how little people with Epilepsy know about their own condition.

When I was first diagnosed, I read everything I could get my hands on about Epilepsy. I read so many things on the internet on studies they were doing with rats and all kinds of craziness. My neurologist at the time said, "Stop it! you'll drive yourself crazy!". I had all these visions of an overnight "cure" for what was happening to me. But that never came. I hated the thought of having to take a daily medication. I had never had to take anything my entire life and had rarely even had an aspirin. So it was hard for me to give in and become so dependent on a drug to relieve my symptoms. But even now, 9 years after diagnosis, each time I take my medication I silently thank God for the pharmaceutical companies and research firms that have saved my life.

I spent a week at United Hospital in St. Paul, MN in 1998. It was the week of Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving I am reminded of that week and the time I spent hooked up to 24 hour EEG and video monitoring. When our family circles the table and says what each of us is thankful for, I am always thankful for the wonderful physicians, research, and medications that have helped me to get this far. This year I will be thankful for my daughter and be thankful for China, looking past my medical woes and allowing my husband and I to bring this beautiful girl home with us. Read more!