Last year, fresh off a new diagnosis of RA, I stumbled into the office of a referred rheumatologist wanting nothing more than relief.
Knowing what I do now, I probably should have wanted answers more than just a stack of prescriptions, but that’s besides the point. I asked for relief and my doctor prescribed me Simponi. I paled a bit as she described how I would have to give myself these shots each month but it was the promise that I’d be able to function again that had me nodding in agreement with her.
Other than steroids prescribed by my primary care doctor, Simponi has been the only RA specific drug I’ve been on. Over the year, we’ve added a few things to supplement, but Simponi is the primary.
My doctor seemed sympathetic to the fact that I don’t have insurance and had me sign some paperwork for a patient assistance program before I left her office that day. At the time, I didn’t think much about it. Even when I received the acceptance letter from the program, I didn’t think much about it. Yes, I was grateful that I’d be saving money and getting help with this new medication, but it just didn’t register how much help.
The next month we picked up my shot from the local pharmacy. Upon coming home, I promptly sat and read all the paperwork that came with my script. I’ve never been one for shots, I wanted to know all the details, side effects, etc. So imagine my shock when I read this little line:
Your insurance has saved you: $28XX.xx today.
I stared in disbelief.
My medicine cost nearly three thousand dollars out of pocket?!??!?
That night, still in shock, I thanked my lucky stars for the patient assistance program. They had accepted me and were covering the cost of my medication IN FULL for a year. Each month, as the shots helped to bring my disease into a somewhat manageable range, I grew more thankful.
Today I’m at the point that I know without a doubt I could not function without this medication. So when I had to reapply to the program last month, I sat on pins and needles awaiting their decision. If they didn’t approve me, how were we going to afford the bill? If we can’t afford it (and we CAN’T) how would I live? I cried myself to sleep a few times imagining a life confined to bed without relief from pain and swollen joints.
Friday morning, relief came.
I’ve been approved for another year’s coverage in the program. My Simponi prescription is 100% covered. No cost to me.
As my shoulders slumped in relief, I could feel my mind clear of all the worry. No matter what else may come, I will be able to continue fighting my disease for another year.
Relief is a beautiful thing.