It was quite a shocker when I couldn’t get my husband’s heart medication prescriptions filled in January. After numerous phone calls to our pharmaceutical insurer, I finally found someone who assessed and fixed the problem, but it took over 6 weeks to get his prescriptions filled. (Fortunately, I had stocked up last year, so he wasn’t completely out of his medications. Stocking up was not intentional. The insurer accidentally sent twice the amount requested and when I called to let them know, they said not to worry about it and they would stop the auto-refill feature). As to why my husband’s prescriptions could not be filled, the customer care representative said something about a “glitch” in the system. At least, that is how it was explained to me. How one customer care representative described it – “…all Medicare eligible persons are being switched over to a Medicare type plan and your husband’s record did not make it into the new database”. The net effect was that it appeared he didn’t have any drug insurance coverage. The problem was “fixed”, but the costs skyrocketed.
Hey, wait a minute, we have private drug insurance through my husband’s previous employer – he is now retired. We didn’t sign up for Medicare Part D because we didn’t need it. We already had good insurance. How can they switch you over like that without your knowledge or permission? ObamaCare, that’s how. The out of pocket costs for his prescriptions is now more than 10 times what they were the last year (i.e., $10 co-pay versus a $100 co-pay per prescription + a deductible that quadrupled and an out of pocket cap that doubled). And this happened with no warning. Our budget is fairly tight each month, so it was a budget shocker too. I scrambled to rob Peter to pay Paul to get the medications he needed, but I was angry. I thought of all the seniors who are less fortunate than ourselves. How would they pay for their medications? And how in the world can anyone stock up on medications for TEOTWAWKI?
This article provided some information about skyrocketing drug costs and the changes being made in Medicare right now under ObamaCare. (Listen up people, the sequester and the Republicans have nothing to do with this, as Mr. O declares. These changes are a direct result of ObamaCare.) The title, Medicare drug costs to fall in 2014, but donut hole widens, is a bit misleading. Costs are up for 2013, so don’t believe they are going down in 2014. Here’s a quote from the article:
“Seniors fall into the "donut hole" when spending on drugs (the combination of what the individual and the insurance company spend) reaches a predetermined threshold. This year, the number is $2,970; after that point, the senior pays 50 percent (a new change this year from the Affordable Care Act) of brand-name drug costs, until individual spending exceeds $4,750...
But for 2014, the CMS has proposed that beneficiaries enter the hole when combined spending reaches $2,850 - $120 less than in 2013. That means seniors would start paying more out-of-pocket at a lower level of spending. That will surprise seniors, since one of the key touted benefits of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law is the gradual closing of the donut hole entirely between now and 2020.”
Can you make it until 2020 for things to improve? There’s a lot of double talk put out by the federal government on how costs are going to be lowered for seniors. I’m not seeing it. Neither are my friends and family. Our cost spike was a result of being forced from a private plan into a Medicare plan. However, my parents have both Medicare and a private plan and experienced huge increases when they went to refill their prescriptions in January this year. Something’s fishy, right?
I shared my story with a few friends, and they had also experienced the “sticker shock” and this includes people who are not Medicare eligible. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not going to put up with it. I have choice (ah, so American of me, right?). I started my quest to find an alternative source for medications. Something I had never thought of before. I recall my sister mentioning to me that her doctor at a major medical university had prescribed her a drug that was not FDA approved and gave her the link to a Canadian pharmacy. I researched Canadian pharmacies and there appears to be a lot of confusion about them. Is it legal for a US citizen to purchase medications from a Canadian pharmacy? Some say yes, some say no. I went to the source, the FDA, and read their policies. It appears that for personal use and in small quantities (30-90 days), the FDA may “look the other way” when US citizens “import” Canadian pharmaceuticals. The trick is finding a legitimate online pharmacy and protecting yourself against identity theft by purchasing from an legitimate source. There exists policy only and I have not found a federal law on the books that prohibits US citizens from purchasing pharmaceuticals for personal use from Canada. (Maybe that will be made a law as the vast ObamaCare bill is slowly morphing into legislation.)
Just a quick note: If you travel overseas and are able to purchase your drugs there, make sure you dump the pills into existing pill containers (that you have taken with you) that are labeled by a US pharmacy; trash your receipts and new pill bottles prior to traveling home, just in case a customs agent decides to hassle you upon re-entry. You never know how far the federal government will go in forcing people into paying into the ObamaCare system. Without your dollars, the system will fail and they know that.
There is an organization, RxRights.org, which is fighting to retain the right to purchase prescription drugs from overseas. God bless them. They wrote an article that described the FDA’s new campaign to warn citizens away from purchasing drugs from outside the United States. The FDA’s web site for the campaign (BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy) can be found here. Key points from the FDA: Know the Risks, Know the Signs, and Know your Online Pharmacy. (The very fact that the FDA is counseling citizens about safely buying outside the US, is permission enough for me.) However, RxRights.org depicts the FDA’s campaign as being misleading by scaring people away from online pharmacies. RxRights.org stated that “…a recent Consumer Reports survey indicated that nearly half of those under age 65 without prescription drug coverage neglected to fill a prescription due to cost in 2012. As Americans struggling to survive in this economy seek ways to save money, scare tactics are not what they need”. And yes, there are many rogue Internet pharmacies out there, so BE CAREFUL, but don’t be deterred. I am going to use the pharmacy that my sister’s doctor recommended.
We have a close relationship with our family doctor. Something I didn’t really care about a few years ago, but major health changes in our family forced us into regular doctor visits. Now, I see this relationship as critical as we all work our way through what ObamaCare has done to destroy healthcare in America. Our family doctor also practices what I call “Chinese medicine” in addition to traditional medicine, which is an indication to me that she is open minded. She also listens and she cares. When my husband’s insurance changed to Medicare primary, she continued to see him. Many doctors are stating that they are “not taking new patients”, but that’s a response you will most likely get after you answer the question, “What is your insurance?” It’s the first question asked, when you call to make an appointment now. My next step is to call her for a new prescription and I will ask her for a couple of copies and explain that I am going to “shop pharmacies” due to the increase in drug costs. I don’t think she will complain, but we’ll see. This where your relationship with your doctor counts.
I called my sister and she explained that getting her drugs from the Canadian pharmacy was fairly straightforward. First, she had to call them. Secondly, she had to fax her prescriptions to them. Once she paid (they take Visa and Mastercard), her medications were shipped to her with no problems. I have high confidence that her recent positive experience will be the same for us. We are forced in this direction because the Affordable HealthCare Act is not affordable and the government takeover of private insurance plans is an outrage. Once accomplished, I am hoping to be able use several online reputable pharmacies for stocking up purposes. Expensive as it may be, I can still refill his prescriptions through our insurer, (and oh by the way – your insurer has become Big Brother too. If you don’t refill your prescriptions in a timely manner, they not only will send you a letter or call you on the phone, they will alert your doctor as well. Maybe they instituted that practice under the guise of “we care”, but I think more likely it’s about “we want your money”.) My plan is to use the insurer despite the cost, and also use the online pharmacies for stocking up. I can do this because I can. If you can’t, get what you need any way you can.
2013 started out with increased taxes, higher healthcare premiums, higher food prices, higher gas prices, higher utility bills, and a huge increase in drug costs. Inflation is here as forecasted. Family budgets were slaughtered. Not a good start. I hope this helps others in finding a reputable online pharmacy, understanding the process, and understanding the risks in preparing for TEOTWAWKI.