Friday, May 6, 2011

Insurance Isn't What It's Supposed To Be

I saw my rheumatologist yesterday. What I thought would be a fairly "easy" appointment has me angry, upset and confused. Since I stopped methotrexate a couple of years ago, I've been getting by with only plaquenil, etodolac, prednisone and pain medication. My RD has been wanting me to restart the methotrexate, but I have refused. It made me feel sick and so tired all the time, that I'd rather have the joint pain and the eventual disfigurement. He has not been happy with my use of prednisone and would at least like to get my dose down to 5mg. I've tried numerous times with horribly painful consequences. I will have to have to add another DMARD to be able to manage a taper.

Yesterday, they took x-rays of my hands and feet and did the normal blood work. If the x-rays are good, he is giving me the choice of Arava, Remicade or Orencia. He prefers Orencia. He says that it has a lower risk of infection than the other biologic drugs. Since I don't have a spleen to fight infection, that is a very important factor. That has been the reason he has not started me on biologics. We had discussed Arava before, but he says that it is more liver toxic then they believed it to be. If my x-rays are not good, he says he will prescribe Orencia.

I've been researching all three drugs and checked this morning with my insurance company. The only one of the three drugs they cover is Arava. There is no way I could possibly afford Orencia or Remicade on my tiny salary. They likely cost more than I make.

I am so angry about the amount of money that is paid to my insurance company and that my deductible is so high that I may as well not have insurance. I'm angry that the medicine that my doctor believes I NEED is not covered. They are dooming me to a life of continued pain, disability and eventual disfigurement.

I am angry too, at the drug manufacturers that make these drugs unavailable to so many people.

I guess I will have to "choose" Arava and hope for the best. I've not had the best track record as far as tolerating medication.

Yesterday, my doctor also switched my Etodolac for Dolobid and my Salagen for Evoxac. I expect the change in anti-inflammatory will give me a short-lived decrease in problems. Whenever I start a new anti-inflammatory, I think, I feel great! But they always decline in their effectiveness over a few months. Maybe I'll get a more comfortable summer out of the switch though.

I hope that your insurance company actually "cares" for your health and that sometime in the near future (before it is too late), I'll find a treatment that is within my reach. I would have never thought I'd find myself in this situation. I really believed that with insurance came peace of mind. It is a terrible reality that I don't have that peace any more.

No comments:

Post a Comment