Drugged and Dangerous

Or more appropriately, UN-drugged and dangerous.

Ever since we switched to the My Blue independent health care plan in January, we’ve had nothing but trouble.  In the 35 years we had Blue Cross Blue Shield group health insurance, we never had a complaint about their service.  In the three months since we’ve had the independent version, we’ve had nothing but.

The situation with prescription medications has been the most problematic.  My husband takes two very important medications to control the pain from his peripheral neuropathy.  He’s been taking them for over five years, and they were always covered under our group BCBS plan.   When the first medication came up for renewal in February, the My Blue plan would not cover it unless he tried a  different (cheaper) medication for 30 days.  During the weeks they made us wait for this momentous decision, he ran out of the original medication and went into withdrawal symptoms which put him virtually out of commission for nearly a week.  The medication they finally approved not only didn’t control his pain symptoms, it made him sick to his stomach.  So for the rest of the month, he felt horrible.   And they’ve still not “authorized” the original medication.

With this experience under our belt, we started early to get “authorization” for his other medication, which we knew was very expensive.  It also has no equivalent, being the only type of drug in its classification.  But even with advance planning, he still ran out of it and went into withdrawal again.

But those symptoms were nothing compared to the sticker shock he got at the pharmacy.  Even though BCBS finally authorized coverage for this medication, the co-pay on the My Blue account is so much higher that the price tag was nearly $800 for a three month supply.  (For comparison purposes, we were paying $120 for three months with our previous group coverage.)

So now he’s faced with the unpleasant prospect of weaning off these medications, which most assuredly will mean constant pain and debilitation, or taking on a second job at McDonald’s to pay for them.

Actually, that might not be a bad idea, because he might be able to get group health care coverage at Mickey D’s.

So when I heard about Canada Drug Center earlier today, I couldn’t wait to click over and take a look around.  I have several friends who order prescription medications from Canadian pharmacies, and now I understand why.  The site is easy to use, they have some great reviews and accreditations, and best of all, their prices on some very expensive drugs are much more affordable.  They stock over the counter drugs too, at a substantial savings.  Although they only offer one of the medications Jim currently needs, being able to get one of them is better than nothing.  And when I need to buy Actonel, I’ll be bypassing the American pharmacy completely.

I believe that the costs associated with health care, health insurance, and prescription drugs are the most serious problems facing this country in the 21st century.   If something can’t be done to contain the costs within these industries, God only know what’s going to happen to us.

In the meantime, at least, I’m grateful there’s an opportunity for a little relief just across the Canadian border.

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9 thoughts on “Drugged and Dangerous

  1. I fully agree that our health insurance rates have gone to hell and back. I have such a hard time getting allergy medication because it’s no longer “covered”. What?! Then why is the medication GETTING made?

    I’d love to hear a follow up post re: your experience with this pharmacy.

  2. I hear ya. We pay way to much on health care and still have horrible co pays and not mention all my medication. And doctor’s just want to go see more doctor’s to pay more copays and get more medicine. Ugh where does it end?

  3. I completely understand your frustration, Becca. No pharmaceutical difficulties so far, but our rates just went up to the point where we are seriously considering different coverage. Again…

  4. I’m so sorry about the problems you are having. Frustrating! Just wanted to mention though that I’ve been hearing a lot about how places that sell medications for much cheaper often stock fakes. Not saying that’s what the Canada place is doing, but I just thought I’d throw that out there.

  5. This sounds dreadful! The current government is trying to make changes to the NHS here that would mean we’d all have to pay for things that are currently free. What IS happening to the developed world? You’d think health would be one of the issues whose importance can’t be disputed.

  6. This is so instructive. With shifts here, I am having to look at shifts in medical coverage. You think it’s going to be okay, but it’s really not. I’m so sorry you are going through this.

  7. I hear you, Becca. I hope this works out for your husband. We’ve been experiencing some insurance frustrations, too. I’m not sure where our country is going with this. Thank you for the links. I’m going to start clicking and saving them right now.

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