There’s a Tiny Child Buddha that lives on my desk

To misquote Sheldon Cooper on Big Bang Theory, “Tiny Buddha. Save me.”

It is the Pocket Buddha of prosperity. It lives there because it makes me smile, but also because it reminds me that every day I need to take a moment appreciate how fortunate I am, because all things considered, I am quite fortunate. It’s there to remind me to appreciate the little things. Breathing, for example.

Breathing is a privilege in my world, not a right, and I get to do it.

My new asthma medication is Breo. We tried every other less expensive medication available to get my asthma back under control. This was the only one medication that we found that’s worked.

Per GoodRX.com It has an average cost of $399.80 for a month’s supply as of today’s date. Because I have a manufacturer’s coupon and insurance, I’m only seeing $10 of that cost out of my pocket. The rest is being covered by my insurance company. If I didn’t have insurance, that coupon would be $100 off my medication.

$100 off of an average of $399.80. That’s still $299.80. Who has $300/month for a maintenance medication?

What’s the alternative, really?

The coupon lasts for a year. It feels like the drug company is standing on a street corner saying “Try a taste, baby. You know you’ll like it. First one’s (practically) free.”

Now, we’re retesting my lung function in August. Spirometry costs: $1100. My portion of that is $482, which I know because we did it once already this year. That’s $482 to breathe in a tube and possibly have an asthma attack during the test because I have exercise induced asthma. Who wants to spend $482 to spin the Wheel of Asthma? No one, but there’s no other way to measure lung function.

With any luck, I’ll be able to convince my pulmonologist that my asthma is controlled again we can try to go back to my old care regime, which was two puffs of albuterol before exercise. With any luck, my asthma will go back to being controlled in the first place, and I won’t just be trying to convince her that I can’t afford to be on this medication because of what it’s doing to the overall cost of health care.

Then I can go back to just worrying about how I’m going to afford the proposed $4000+ asthma surcharge that insurance companies would like to add to my insurance costs because I lost the genetic lottery and I have asthma. Heaven help you if you have had a heart attack or cancer.

Insurance companies only make money when you’re well. Pharmaceutical companies only make money from the sick, in part from insurance companies who are trying to preserve their profit margins by passing more and more of the cost to the consumer.

All I want to do is breathe.

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