Help Affording Drugs

Prescription drugs, of course.  What else were you thinking?  Seriously, we need to buy pharmacy stock in this home.  I almost named this post I live with a bunch of Druggies.  Proof:

IMG_20130102_190546

Those are my husband and my daily meds.  I think maybe three of those are mine by the way.  Quick flashback for medical history purpose:

2006- Met husband, fell in love…He goes to a routine physical for his CDL license, doctor mentions a heart murmur he might want checked out.  He comes home, mentions to me..I remember feeling something in my gut (instinct most likely) that said this isn’t good but we let it go.  Partly due to the “Nothing bad can happen to us” ignorance and partly due to no medical insurance as he was self employed.

2007- Married, Madi is born, Isn’t love grand?

2008- Finally secure health insurance on May 1st.  May 2nd Brian goes to a family doctor.  That weekend the doctor called Brian on his cell, from the doctor’s cell.  Side note…it’s never good news when that happens.  From that moment it is a blur of tests, procedures, doctors, hospitals that all climax on July 3rd with my 37 year old, non-smoking, slender build husband having open heart surgery.  Our daughter wasn’t even one yet.  Yet he was laying on the operating table trying to repair a heart that had about 5-10% function left. 

He did survive, only to find out three months later that the surgery had not been as successful as hoped.  December 26th he went back in the operating room to have a defibrillator implanted in his heart in case it stopped on him.  He would have to start the proceedings to be on the heart transplant list if there was not improvement after increase in meds. 

Aside from the obvious of never ignoring a possible medical issue do you know what the lesson is here?  Never get married.  The minute you marry them and take them off the single lot, they break down on you and run like crap.  And there are no Lemon Laws in marriage.  Damn contracts.

Did I mention my Dad was also diagnosed with cancer in the same year?  A cancer that has an extremely small chance (almost zero) of going into remission.  Hellooo perfect ingredients for a nervous breakdown. 

2009- Had to shut down the family business, struggled financially for the next almost three years due to trying to recover from the loss of income while he was recovering from surgeries (most of 2008).  Aside from financial reasons, he could no longer perform the strenuous physical activity his business required and could not handle the stress of running his own business.  This was a VERY difficult year as he fought reality.

So that brings us to today.  Brian is doing extremely well, but has many medicines that truthfully keep him alive.  They keep his blood pressure, heart rate and stress down.  They keep his heart beating regularly.  They keep his blood thinned to prevent clots.  He can’t go a day without these meds.  It is EXTREMELY expensive. 

We went for a short period where the government decided we were no longer poor enough to qualify for Family Health Plus, a state assisted health insurance and we had no insurance.  His medicines alone were near $300 a month.  Ouch.  That doesn’t include his ongoing medical care.  Seriously Government, we be poor folk.  The least you could do is throw some free lunches our way for the kids.  We live paycheck to paycheck but qualify for no help at all, in any manner. 

So luckily he married a Penny Pincher.  If there is a program out there that will assist or reduce costs, I will find it. 

We do now have health insurance with a prescription plan thanks to his amazing employer.  It should not be a luxury or a “benefit”.  It should be something every American has.  That is why I don’t see 100% harm in the Obamacare plan.  I don’t think that they are approaching it in the right manner, but I think the goal of getting coverage for all Americans is a priority. 

My heart goes out to those without a prescription plan who rely on those medicines to keep them alive and well.  There are several avenues to take to try to alleviate the cost of medicines. 

1.  Ask the doctor for samples.  Seriously, they get them for free and you have to be honest with your doctor that you can’t afford them.  Our doctor’s office would mail us a three month supply of samples at a time.  FOR FREE.  So be forward and tell them your situation with no or inadequate prescription coverage. 

2.  Call around to local pharmacies and explain the situation and ask if they have any pharmacy founded programs to assist with the cost.  Most pharmacies do.  In fact Price Chopper offer many medicines FREE OF COST.  Free antibiotics and Free Diabetic medicines and supplies. 

3.  Find out which pharmaceutical company manufactures the prescription you need.  Then contact that company and ask if they have a patient assistance program to help cover the costs.  Most will help with the cost after you and your doctor fill out some paperwork for their files.  Even though we do not qualify for ANY type of assistance under the sun, we do qualify for these patient assistance programs! 

In addition there are several resources out there available to people who can’t afford their medication.  Here are some links to those resources:

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

Rx Assist

Needy Meds

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