We’ve all heard about the issues with healthcare. Where you are in your life can influence your opinion. When you are working in a secure job with great benefits, you wonder what the big deal is. I had some eye openers this week.
This week one of the regulars in my walking community was missing. The group has all ages walking at all levels. Some with walkers and some, like me, hoofing it at high speed.
This particular woman (I’m guessing she’s close to 80 as she was a slow walker) got dizzy on the drive home. She pulled over. I assume she was driving erratically because a woman pulled over to help her. The Good Samaritan was a nurse and called for an ambulance.
Getting to the point of the story, the woman was diabetic. She couldn’t afford the insulin so she started to cut back. If you know anything about diabetes, you can’t do that. You have to keep your blood sugar regulated tightly.
This isn’t unusual. I know people who have cut back on eye drops (which are outrageously expensive) and some other medications too. Some are not life threatening but it affects quality of life. Or mobility. Or vision. Or makes you more susceptible to something else.
Insulin is expensive but not near as expensive as some heart and chronic illness medications. My biggest worry has always been that we are one catastrophic illness away from bankruptcy.
You know those drug ads you see? The ones that work wonders and people are miraculously helped? Some cost thousands of dollars a month. Many are new and are not covered by insurance especially Medicare. Oh yes, and because of our sluggish (and big pharma supported) government, Medicare is not allowed to negotiate with drug companies for better rates. Medicare patients are not eligible for drug cost reduction programs either.
Some basic facts about Medicare — it’s not a welfare program. Working people pay into it their entire life. It’s not free. There is a cost and because the coverage is skimpy, you need an additional supplemental plan and a drug coverage plan. In my case, it costs far more than what I paid for my employer’s plan and the coverage is not as good.
It’s also complicated. There are different levels of payment and donut holes.
There is something wrong with this picture.
Other walkers reached out to this woman. There are cheaper places than the local drugstore to buy insulin syringes but insulin is expensive. You can’t buy it in back allies. (I had a diabetic cat that required human insulin so I know all about navigating the costs.) It’s not easy especially when you are older and not technically inclined.
Comprehension also takes a hit with age. Not everyone understands even when it’s explained several times.
The people in the greatest need do not have the technology or the information they need. That is very sad indeed.