I recently experienced first hand some of the problems faced by senior citizens and non-seniors alike. A little background – In a week I turn 72 years old. I have been on Social Security for the past 7 years. In about a month or so we will be moving into senior subsidized housing and downsizing from our home of 15 years. Such an experience.
Once upon a time, I was loath to take even an aspirin. Then came the aspirin for one’s heart health. Ok, most of the time. I did not watch my weight, just noticed it went up and down, mostly up. I had three sets of clothes for various weights.
Diabetes entered the picture and they explained the importance of diet and exercise. Exercise I sort of liked. A few years ago I topped out at 274 lbs, and receded via weight watchers, etc. Last November I experienced a heart attack (at 252 lbs.) So far this sounds like a very familiar self-generated problem experienced by many.
A heart attack (when it happens to you) will concentrate one’s attention wonderfully. Over the past past 8 months I managed to shed 30 lbs. and change my eating habits, and even enjoy my new food choices. With all the new medications, I inched up to 14 different medicines daily. Some of them can cost, without insurance, over $150 a month. Even with insurance $30 a month. Needless to say, we chose generics when possible, etc.
With my latest heart cath stint insertion (three new ones so far), and one to go next month, a new drug, effient, from Eli Lilly was introduced into my regimen. The doctors said I would be on it the rest of my life, and if I discontinued it, that life would be short. There is no generic available.
Well, this month I hit the dreaded doughnut hole faced by people with prescription insurance coverage. For the next $2000 of prescription purchases, we have to pay 100% of the cost. This may not sound like a lot of money to many, but when you have very little money coming in, it is gigantic. We couldn’t afford it.
My heart doctor told us about drug maker Eli Lilly’s touted program to help low income people afford effient. A staff person at the doctor’s office helped us fill out the voluminous paper work, and submitted it, explaining that it should come in before I ran out of effient.
I heard back yesterday from the doctor’s office. I had been declined, although we met all the criteria but two.
According to Eli Lilly, I was rejected because 1) I was over age 65, and 2) because I was on Medicare. Obviously Eli Lilly feels the world is better off with fewer older people, and/or we were deemed wealthy on our social security income (details of our income were part of the paperwork).
There is no other program for which we qualify. It could be an interesting year in the Fr. Orthohippo household. Thank you so much, Eli Lilly. I can only hope a different drug company will develop an equal or superior medication before I no longer need it.