Will the health care bill actually help me?

In October 2008, I was laid off. That also meant that I lost my health insurance. Yes, I could have gotten the COBRA coverage, but I couldn’t afford that. I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills or find another job, so how the hell was I going to afford the COBRA coverage?

I did find a contract job that I started in December 2008, but being that it was a contract job, I couldn’t get health insurance through it. The job lasted 4 months, and then I was unemployed again. I found another contract job that I started in May 2009. As with the other one, since it was a contract job, there was no insurance. This position was supposed to be a contract-to-hire position (6 month contract), but the company ended my contract early (due to financial reasons … they laid off 15 people the day after my contract ended).

Happily, I found a normal job (i.e. not a contract job) in November 2009. But due to company policy, I’m not eligible for health insurance until I’ve been working there for 6 months. I’ll hit that mark in May, so hopefully I’ll have insurance again shortly after that. Unless the insurance company makes me wait even longer since I’ve been without insurance for so damn long.

Other than the fact that I haven’t seen a doctor in I don’t know how long, I have chronic dry eye which means I need to take prescription eye drops … Restasis to be exact. These eye drops are NOT cheap.

I was first prescribed these eye drops back when I had health insurance through Medica. I only had to pay a $30 co-payment for the eye drops … Medica covered the rest. That was acceptable. The company I worked for that I had the Medica insurance through closed their doors, but the client we had been working for hired me on directly. But that meant a lapse of 2 months in my insurance. Once I had insurance again, it was through Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND. With them, I had to pay a $60 co-payment for the same damn eye drops. I guess Blue Cross needed to pay for their corporate retreats somehow. :censored: But still … at least it wasn’t full price.

When I got laid on in October 2008, it was up to me to foot the entire bill for the eye drops. I couldn’t afford that, so I stopped refilling the prescription. I couldn’t take it anymore this past summer, so I went back to the eye doctor in July 2009 to get the prescription again. I called around town, and the cheapest I could find it was at White Drug in CashWise.

One refill (of 30 vials) was $108.94. The vials are single use vials, meaning I’m supposed to open them, put them in my eyes, and throw the rest away. And I’m supposed to do this twice a day. That means 2 vials per day … 2 refills a month … $217.88 A MONTH. 😯 Oh HELL NO. My eye doctor told me that I could stretch a single vial out over 2 days. That means I can stretch one refill for 2 months rather than half a month. There is definitely enough of the eye drops in a vial to cover 4 applications. So the drug company who makes these eye drops (Allergan) puts enough of the eye drops in one vial to last for 2 days, but they want me to use it one time and then toss the rest away and end up having to spend more than $200 a month out of my own pocket since I don’t have insurance. Screw you.

And if that’s not bad enough, the cost of the refill has been going up every 4 months, like clockwork. I checked my records today …

  • July 2009 — $108.94
  • September 2009 — $108.94
  • November 2009 — $119.84
  • January 2010 — $119.84
  • March 2010 — $124.55

Are you fucking kidding me? $125 for a 15 day supply of eye drops (if you follow the recommended dosage instructions). That’s $250 a month … $250 a month. :censored: :censored: :censored: :censored: No wonder I stretch one vial out for 4 doses rather than 1.

From what I understand of the new health care bill that Congress passed yesterday, I will be fined if I don’t have health insurance. So if the bill was already in effect, I would have been fined ever since October 2008. Kind of ridiculous if you ask me. You’re going to make me pay a fine because I don’t have enough money to pay for health insurance? I’m sorry, but that’s fucked up. It’s a good thing that doesn’t go into effect right away. Hopefully within 2 months I’ll have health insurance. I don’t know what I’ll end up paying for these eye drops once I do get insurance again, but any little bit helps, especially when they keep raising the prices every 4 months.

One thing that I hope the health care bill will do is prevent the drug companies from raising the cost of prescriptions so damn often. Pretty soon, one refill is going to cost $200 if the drug company has their way. This is a prescription that I need. I went without it for several month only to have my eyes get so dry that it felt like I stuck my face in the sand with my eyes open. The eye drops are working. I was able to wear my contacts this weekend for the first time in over a year. I have to keep using them. The cost of them shouldn’t prohibit me from getting them.

I guess only time will tell if the health care bill is actually a good thing or not (I have my doubts), but I really hope it is. I know that there are people in worse situations health/insurance wise than I am. Something needs to be done. I just hope this bill helps more than it hurts.

Comments

  1. You don’t have to worry about the being fined for having no coverage. That doesn’t take effect until 2014. 🙂

    I do hope the health care bill works. It’s not perfect, but it can be tweaked as time goes on.

  2. If it makes you feel any better, the new bill would require the health insurance at your new job to kick in after 90 days rather than 6 months.

    Not like it matters now, but i think you would have been eligible for a 65% subsidy for your COBRA from the stimulus as well….

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