When Your Diabetes is Just Too Expensive
I realize there are a lot of folks out there struggling to pay for the basic supplies and medications they need to care for their diabetes. The high cost is one of the shittiest things about having this shitty disease, if you'll excuse my candor.
I'm amazed at how many people on the new community write to say they don't have adequate health insurance - or any coverage at all - can't afford what they need, and don't know where to turn. I had an email exchange with a disgruntled PWD named Ben last week who wrote me that "I can barely afford just my insulin and test strips. I only can because there was some sort of mistake with my old insurance that seems to let me continue to buy prescriptions. So you might understand why I'd get pissy about any sort of supplies one might get free that are a day's wages for me... (I have) a tough time listening to people complain about expensive, essentially unaffordable, devices and support supplies that would make a huge positive impact in my life."
I hear you. I get it. Healthcare in this country is messed up. I don't have all the answers. I do plan to continue writing about new diabetes products - in the spirit of sharing and reaching out - in the hopes that others will respond in kind. Of course I wish I could make all these products affordable for everyone who could benefit! (btw, I ended up shipping my entire package of HealthSimple tools to Ben)
Meanwhile, I have learned about a great program that might offer a good glimmer of hope. It's a resource for uninsured patients called TogetherRxAccess. If you currently have no prescription drug coverage and are not eligible for MediCare, you may well be eligible for the Together Rx Access Card, which gets you 25 to 40 percent off brand-name prescription products at pharmacies nationwide.
To be eligible, you also have to have a household income of less than $30,000 for a single person or $60,000 for a family of four (income eligibility is adjusted for family size), and you must be legal residents of the United States or Puerto Rico.
According to the press release: "The Together Rx Access Card was created by leading pharmaceutical companies to help hardworking Americans and their families gain access to immediate and meaningful savings on prescription products right at their neighborhood pharmacy. More than 300 brand-name prescription products are included, along with savings on a wide range of generics. Medicines in the Program include those used to treat high cholesterol, diabetes, depression, asthma, and many other common conditions. There are no enrollment costs, monthly dues, or hidden charges."
Since this sounded almost too good to be true, I had to check the covered drug list to see if it included insulin and glucose testing supplies, along with oral drugs. Since Sanofi-Aventis is a sponsor, I found Lantus and Apidra listed. I also found test strips and monitor supplies from FreeStyle, OneTouch, and Abbott's Precision Xtra. Not bad.
Note that anyone eligible for Together Rx Access may also qualify for additional savings on prescription medicines, or even free medicines, through other patient assistance programs run by the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA). That one is "a clearinghouse for more than 475 public and private assistance programs, including 180 offered by pharmaceutical companies." Part of the PPA's mission is also to connect people to free health clinics in their community.
Not surprisingly in this economy, people are rushing to sign up for Together Rx Access in droves, at a rate of 10,000 new people every week, they tell me. In May, the group reached a milestone of 1.5 million cardholders. If you're interested, visit the Together Rx Access web site, or call 1-800-966-0407.
All I can do is cross my fingers that posting this here will help some PWDs obtain what they need to take care of their health.