To hear the voices of older Americans facing high drug costs month after month is to hear fear and worry, anger and stress. Many say they’re figuring out how to get by, skipping vacations and other niceties they’ve been saving up for.
For Kim Armbruster, 65, who recently retired from a 40-year career as a nurse, cut costs for her medications for diabetes, psoriatic arthritis and Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid , has been a rush since she started receiving Medicare. in March.
Ms Armbruster, of Cary, Illinois, said she saved extra insulin on prescriptions filled when she had commercial insurance, enough to cut costs before a monthly cap took effect. But his other conditions caused immense financial pressure.
By June, she had reached Medicare’s threshold for catastrophic coverage after paying more than $7,000 for Enbrel, a drug she takes for arthritis; Synthroid, which she takes for Graves’ disease; Eliquis, for atrial fibrillation, insulin and its insulin pump.
“It’s about thinking ahead, looking for alternatives and strategizing for the home budget so you can take the necessary medications,” she said. Learning to cope with costs, she added, has been like “a baptism by fire, learning everything I can possibly learn about managing drug costs and staying healthy without complications.”
The drug carousel taken by Mr Spring, the dementia patient who died in April, included sky-high prices for drugs including Eliquis, for heart disease, and Namenda, an Alzheimer’s drug. Mr. Spring also took an antidepressant and medication to lessen the side effects of Namenda.