Back when I was a young bird with type 1 diabetes, insulin cost about $70 dollars per bottle. (And I had to walk uphill both ways to the endocrinologist’s office.) I had no concept of this cost, or how it played into my family’s finances, at the time. I would just open the fridge door, grab the bottle, uncap the orange top to a 1cc syringe, and take the units my mom would yell to me from the kitchen sink.
“Two. Two of Regular should do it. Rotate to your right arm this time, okay?”
“Okay!” (And then I’d proceed to jab it into my left arm because I’m right-handed and also stubborn.)
Now, twenty-five years later, insulin has taken a bit of a price hike. I just ordered a three month supply of Humalog from Medco and the total for the insulin came to six hundred and ninety-seven dollars. For six bottles of Humalog that will be all gobbled up by early March. (And thanks to a high, but manageable-on-paper deductible, we’re responsible for the full cost this round.) Almost seven hundred dollars worth of insulin.
We’re lucky that we’re able to pay for that cost without panicking, but knowing what these bottles cost without the assistance of insurance makes me look at everything through a diabetes lens. When three days are up on my insulin pump site, I am very aware of Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*
A couple weeks ago I walked the streets of Lincoln, Nebraska, talking to men and women about whether they thought Washington was listening to their economic concerns. Jeff Melichar manages his family’s Phillips 66 gas station on the city’s main street, and one of his big financial problems happens to be health insurance. The more we talked, the more I realized what a jam he could be in down the road because of a loophole in the health reform law, which has received almost no press coverage or public discussion: If you have health insurance from your employer, you may have to keep it whether or not it’s adequate or affordable. Buying less expensive or better coverage from one of the state “exchanges” or shopping services will be off limits. So despite all that talk about consumer choice, for many like the Melichars, there may be no choice.
Melichar’s wife is eligible for health insurance from the optical company where she works. But the family waited until this fall to enroll when the firm offered coverage they finally could afford. Their premium is Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*
This is depressing:
A 24-year-old Cincinnati father died from a tooth infection this week because he couldn’t afford his medication, offering a sobering reminder of the importance of oral health and the number of people without access to dental or health care.
According to NBC affiliate WLWT, Kyle Willis’ wisdom tooth started hurting two weeks ago. When dentists told him it needed to be pulled, he decided to forgo the procedure, because he was unemployed and had no health insurance.
When his face started swelling and his head began to ache, Willis went to the emergency room, where he received prescriptions for antibiotics and pain medications. Willis couldn’t afford both, so he chose the pain medications.
The tooth infection spread, causing his brain to swell. He died Tuesday.
It can’t be denied that his poor decision-making was the proximate cause of this guy’s death (and many times I’ve gotten the maddening call from the pharmacy, “Doctor, the patient only wants the narcotics”). The underlying cause, however, was the fact that he was uninsured. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*
Childbirth hospital costs these days aren’t cheap. Some studies suggest the cost of raising a child exceeds $200,000, not including education expenses. Most insurance companies charge women of childbearing age more for their insurance because the actuarial tables say so. Mrs Happy and I now have a 3 month old Zachary in our wings. He is a cute little peanut. His two brothers, Marty and Cooper adore him.
Forty-two days after his April 21st, 2011 delivery, we still had not received our explanation of benefits from Blue Cross Blue Shield for the midwife charge. I had previously received a statement from them saying the charge was under review. Perhaps they believed that delivering Zachary was not medically necessary. I can’t explain it.
When I called to ask them why this charge had not been approved, they said they could not give me a reason why my explanation of benefits statement had not been finalized after 42 days. I pressed for more information, but to no avail. I was given no reason other than to say that they had a lot of claims to review. That’s not an acceptable reason to delay a payment of a claim. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*
For years I have touted the health benefits of the “Mediterranean Diet” and encouraged patients to eat like the Europeans. Fresh farm vegetables, olive oil, fish and red wine have been linked with longevity and good health. I just read in NPR news that young Italians are forgoing the eating patterns of their elders and are imitating the “U.S. diet”. The result is soaring obesity, just like in the United States.
According the the article, young Italians ages 6-12 are sitting in front of the TV and are eating fast foods and soda. In just three generations, the eating habits and activity of kids has changed from their healthy grandparents. Italian health officials say obesity is reaching epidemic proportions.
Part of the diet changes are a result of Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*