In the fall of 2011, we received letters from my mother’s secondary health care provider advising us that, effective January 1, 2012, she would be paying an additional $300 per month for the co-pays on five medications she was currently taking. Two of those co-pays were increasing to $75, and three were increasing to $50. Previously, the co-pays were either $0 or close to it. I sat there, stunned, trying to think about what I was going to have to do to come up with these extra funds. On Social Security, mom only received $909 per month. I called her doctors and the insurance company and asked why the sudden increase? Their answers were the same: Obamacare.
Working with her doctors, we were able to change to, as much as possible, generics. Previously, she had tried to switch to a generic for one of her allergy medications; however, the filler was different, and she was allergic to it. I know. What were the chances? So we had to get a waiver to keep her on the original medicine. That wasn’t going to work this time, though. Thankfully, the patent had run out on this drug, and a new generic had become available. She wasn’t allergic to that one, so we saved $75 per month.
We switched to the generic of a second medication. That also worked with no problem, and we saved another $75 per month.
Mom has COPD and is on three different drugs/inhalants that she uses with her nebulizer. One of these was changed to a generic. Then, working with my mother’s pulmonologist, we found a loophole that allowed her to receive her inhalants with a $0 copay, saving the remaining $150 per month. No, I’m not going to tell you what that loophole was. Heaven forbid they should find it and close it. Then I’d have to figure out some other way to make that $150 disappear.
The total amount of savings was $300. At least for the time being, these creative ways of working around the system were going to save my mother’s life and allow her to continue living at home. What I truly wondered, though, was what was going to happen to all of those people who didn’t have an advocate, like me, to help them or a doctor with the time to have one of his staff find a workaround? I found that thought quite troubling.
I don’t want you to think that it ends here. It doesn’t. There’s more.
We received a notice, about a month ago, that the monthly copay on her secondary health insurance was going to increase from $39.80 per month to $62.00. That’s just shy of a 60% increase. Think about that. A law that was supposed to keep the high rate of increase to a minimum and reduce costs just generated a 60% increase in my mother’s monthly premiums. But it didn’t end there.
Mom’s in-hospital copay was $450 PER YEAR. That means that no matter how many times Mom went to the hospital during a calendar year, all she paid was $450 ONE TIME. As of January 2013, she will be paying $650 PER OCCURRENCE. One year, only a couple of years ago, Mom was in the hospital six times. Heaven forbid that should happen now because she’d be paying $3,900 in co-pays. It doesn’t end there, either.
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