The price of oil has hit $100 a barrel, grocery costs are up 6% over last year and the out of pocket costs for prescription drugs is ever increasing. What are we the middle class, as we find ourselves continuously strapped for cash, to do?
In order to make ends meet, I am hearing my co-workers making the choice to forego refilling their prescription drug medications. One employee admitted he had stopped taking his asthma medication when his out of pocket cost hit $60 a refill. Only after he received a warning for excessive absenteeism did he indicate that perhaps he would cancel his cable instead. Another employee who complains of leg pain when he cannot afford his blood pressure medication can afford to go out to eat for breakfast and lunch everyday plus spend most of his weekends betting at the dog track. My favorite story is the employee who disgusted with her high out of pocket cost for lipitor began a diet an exercise program that has resulted in a 20 lb. weight loss, lowering her cholesterol and no longer needing her medication.
I understand our company drug plan requires higher out-of-pocket costs every year causing greater financial hardship. We have a formulary drug plan; a plan with a list of preferred drugs. If your doctor prescribes a non-formulary drug (one that is not on the list) your out of pocket cost is higher.
We are all faced with choices every day in our lives, perhaps too many choices; let’s make sure we look at all our options before choosing not to take our meds.