23 February 2015

Thanks, Obamacare!

Oh, the trials and tribulations of living on Social Security Disability Income with Medicare health insurance!
The Rising Cost of Healthcare in the USA
The problem of rising healthcare costs in the USA could not be more insane than what I'm currently being subjected to.

I received a notice (so they say) from my Medicare Part D insurance provider (that's the insurance coverage that pays for all of my medications) that my premium was being reduced this year. One might think, this is a good thing, right? Well, as it turns out, it is exactly the opposite!

I went to CVS today to refill five of my prescriptions that I must take in order to maintain my current health. These prescriptions are all required for me to function at close to a level of normalcy. The cost of the coinsurance for these five prescriptions is going to be $193.52!

Last year, I paid all of approximately $40 for these very same prescriptions!

This is complete insanity. I may be saving $40 on my premiums, but I'm paying nearly four times as much for my medications -- and this amount doesn't even include all of the medications I need to take and pay for every month (there are three or four others, and I have no idea how much those are going to cost me).

My income is fixed. I don't have a job, I don't work, and I don't have alternate means of earning income or money. I have no savings left (that all went to paying medical bills years and years and years ago). So how am I supposed to survive when I budget $50 for medication and it turns out to be four times as much, at nearly $200?

I'm left with choices such as the following:
  • Do I pay for my medications and not pay a portion of my rent, or do I pay my rent in full and not get my needed medications?
  • Do I pay for my medications, or pay for my electric/utilities bill?
  • Do I pay for my medications, or pay for my phone bill?
  • Do I pay for my medications, or pay for my Internet/Cable bill (and those who know me know that my Internet service is just as necessary for me as are my medications).
  • Do I pay for my medications, or do I buy food?

I should not be forced to choose between making these payments. I should not have to struggle to pay for the necessary and essential elements of life. Food versus medication, or medication versus shelter. These are not choices I should be forced to make!

The best part about this, of course, is that these pricing changes took effect after the deadline for switching insurance companies. So now I'm stuck with this pricing schema -- and my current insurance carrier -- until the open enrollment period begins again at the end of this year.

When I asked my Medicare Part D provider why they made such drastic changes to their pricing structure, they told me that they did so in order to remain in compliance with the Affordable Care Act and to maintain close to the same profits that they earned the year before.

What sort of insanity is this? Last year, I struggled every month to make it to my next SSD check. With my prescriptions more than tripling in cost -- even taking into account the meager savings I will receive with the reduction in my Part D insurance premium, and the whopping $20/month cost-of-living raise I received this year in my SSD income, I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do to survive.

Thank you so, so very much, Obamacare, for making my life completely unlivable!