Last year, when I was diagnosed (again) with bipolar disorder, I didn’t have to worry about the price of my medication. Though I didn’t have health insurance, the county I live in was able to finance most of my medications and doctor visits. My payments were quite affordable and I was thankful for the taxes I paid that helped to finance this program.
But when I called in January to make another doctor appointment they told me that I would have to pay full price. Apparently they lost some state funding and were only able to serve those with insurance now. I was filled with panic and despair, crying and freaking out. And that’s extra stress that someone with my condition certainly doesn’t need.
Thankfully, my next trip to another doctor yielded new prescriptions and some additional care. Dr. A cares about her patients and does what she can to take care of us. My next problem was figuring out how to get these medications at an affordable price.
I found out that a pharmacy was selling the generic versions of these meds for a total of about $30/month combined. I was ecstatic. What a lifesaver, right? Well, I certainly thought so.
But after a few months of taking the generics, my condition was taking control more and more and I was less and less able to lead a normal life again. Through a friend’s posting on Facebook, I watched a video and read an article on the real differences between some brand name and generic medications. It really got me thinking about my recent decline in well-being and the fact that I had switched to generic meds. I decided to switch back to brand name medications and see how that goes.
I spent some time today calling local pharmacies that honor the Badger RX Gold discount card that I use. I’m shocked at the prices that must be paid for brand name drugs. The most expensive pharmacy in my area is CVS, who charge $299 for one drug and $129 for the other. Their prices for the generics are $109 and $32. Wow. I was nearly speechless when I heard that. The lowest prices I found were for generics for $25 a piece. But for brand name drugs, Target was the cheapest, with prices of $169.49 and $124.99. But a local pharmacy, Ye Olde Pharmacy, was only a few bucks more. And since they are a local business and they have fantastic customer service, I decided to go there. Thank goodness the Badger RX Gold card helped me to save some money. It’s incredible how much money it takes just so I can stay healthy. And I know I’m not the only one.
In addition to this, I am uninsurable. We just recently applied for health insurance (thinking there might be some way for us to pay for it) and due to the medications I take and the diagnoses I have received, I cannot get approved to save my life. Literally. I am in the process of applying for Wisconsin’s Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan. It’s for people like me that can’t get approved for regular insurance but also don’t qualify for programs like BagerCare Plus. It might not be the best coverage, but it’s something – and that’s definitely better than nothing.
What do you think? Is it fair that some people (perhaps those who need care the most) should have to hold off on making appointments and pay through the nose when they do end up seeking care? Is it possible to continue to have a productive society when more and more people can’t afford to keep healthy? Do you conider health care a human right (seperate from what any legal document says)? How can we, as a society, help improve the health of our society?