Coming to terms with the fact that you have a lifelong disease can be mentally draining. Trying to figure out how you will be able to afford your medications is an extra layer of stress that can be detrimental to your illness.
Access to affordable medications is a constant struggle for people with sickle cell disease – a disorder of hemoglobin that largely affects African Americans. The CDC estimates that about 1 in 13 African American births will have sickle cell trait, and about 1 in 365 will have the disease.
The annual cost associated with sickle cell disease can be on average $10,000 for children. The financial burden dramatically increases as beneficiaries get older and their disease progresses. Adults can expect to pay three times more in costs than children which may cause many to reconsider the kind of treatment they receive.
With the costs of healthcare and medications continuing to escalate, it’s important to know your options to avoid suffering in silence. Collaboration and communication with others are key to understanding the resources around you.
Here are a few actions you can take to increase your access to the medications needed to manage your pain crisis:
Have a Real Conversation with Your Doctor
When is the last time you had a conversation with your doctor? Remember, your doctor is a trained resource – use them!
Get in the habit of engaging in open communication with your doctor to understand your options. Don’t limit your conversations to just your health concerns but be upfront about your financial matters as well.
Start by asking your doctor for coupons or free samples. Drug reps provide doctors with these items to enable you to test out medicines before purchasing a full prescription.
Remember, you don’t have to sacrifice quality because of your financial situation. If there is a certain medicine you want, ask your doctor for