Building a Nest Egg: Financing Treatments
When most people think of building a nest egg, they think of saving their pennies for major purchases dream house, car, life-changing vacations, offspring, retirement, etc.
Saving for asthma treatment
I have found myself thinking about whole different kinds of saving plans. This one is less for the renovations that I would like to do in my home or the vacations that I have on my bucket list. They are in relation to paying for medications. As a Canadian, I went from having amazing group benefits, to having a job change that ultimately was better for my health but I no longer got to keep my awesome group plan.
I have more flexibility to work from home and flex-time to go to my many appointments and receive the care I need but I no longer have that drug plan. I thought I was covered, I kept a separate insurance plan from a previous job, however, what I learned is that I had misread the line item for drug coverage and it was much lower than I had thought. I attempted to get additional coverage, however, my chronic illness now fell into a weird pre-existing condition category that they did not need to provide coverage on.
In Canada, there is a business practice in which insurance companies can choose not to cover pre-existing conditions. I could get insurance, however, it would not cover the medications I needed it to cover. My best option was to get a different job that had group benefits, as many of you can attest. This is a way easier statement, than a reality. I am working on some other avenues and appeals, however, I haven’t quite found a solution yet.
Other avenues for additional coverage?
This sent me on a quest to find out if there were other avenues to get coverage or assistance. The reality is that there is a lot more need for assistance than there is assistance. I did, however, learn that there are some programs available from pharmaceutical companies that offer discounts or financial assistance. There are definitely specifics to investigate to individual programs that may be available. However, they are worth evaluating to see if you can make use of them.
I found a few foundations that offer programs mostly to patients who are in dire straits. Although, their demand is also higher than the needs that they can provide. There a single public payer program available in my province that can provide some assistance, like most, it is income dependent and sometimes the deductible is so high that it is not helpful. You also only receive assistance for drugs on a formulary. Biologics and newer and very expensive asthma treatments are not yet on the formerly and honestly, it will be some time before they are (several year if at all). I could look at an exceptional access program but the rate of approval is not particularly high. I will keep working and looking at different avenues.
This research took me down another path.
Could I change the entire system? I have never really seen myself as a political person or fighting an entire system. In discussing my conundrum with some good friends and health advocates, I could make effort to bring the situation to light and advocate my concerns to my local, provincial, and the federal government to bring the need for changes in our coverage as a priority issue. I am going to be diving into the deep end and advocating on a different front for meditation coverage. We will see how it goes.
In the interim, I will be saving my pennies towards the out of pocket costs that biologics will be costing me. I am not sure how sustainable a plan this is but it looks like my new reality.
I do have concerns that I won’t be able to afford biologics or that I won’t be able to afford them long term and, I will need to resort to less effective options in which I have had significant side effects. I am staying optimistic that I will sort out a solution soon.
I would love to hear your options for dealing with insurance or funding other treatment options.
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