My name is MacKenzie, I'm 31 years old, and I currently live in Düsseldorf. Back in 2010 while I was still living in the US, I was diagnosed with MS. The disease process actually started in 2007, so as you can imagine, there was a lot of anxiety and emotional upheaval leading up to the diagnosis, as I tried to figure out what was wrong with me and what had changed in my body. When I finally did receive my diagnosis, I was given a presciption for Copaxone, a disease modifying drug. I was warned by my doctor that this drug was pricey (around $2500 a month without insurance), and insurance only covered 50% of the cost. Therefore, I was told that I needed to contact, Teva, the company that produces the drug, to procure additional financial support from their Shared Solutions program. At this time, I was just out of college, only partially employed, and living with my parents (I know, awesome time in my life). I called Teva and was asked to submit information regarding my monthly income and expenses so that they could determine whether or not I qualify for aid. I told the lady on the phone that I was making well below $25,000 a year and that I had a large student loan to service. She said that the aid program doesn't take student debt into account, and asked about my rent costs. I told her I lived with my parents at the moment, and she indirectly instructed me to lie and say that I am paying rent, and that if I didn't, I likely would not get suitable aid. I thank that lady, because the program did end up paying the leftover costs due to that small detail. Still, it was necessary for me to submit my income, expense, and insurance information, plus a form/questionnaire annually by a certain deadline in order to prove that I don't make enough money to pay over $1000 a month for a drug necessary to my well-being. This process was relatively involved, circuitous, and stressful for someone reeling from a recent life-changing diagnosis, and I feel very lucky that I had the support of my family at that time. I actually had to ask my mother to make some calls and pretend to be me on certain days, as I was too overwhelmed (and still recovering from the relapse that led to my diagnosis) to handle business myself. I also think it important to mention that my neurologist of choice was located in New York City (I am from New Jersey), and that my insurance would not cover the cost for these appointments, as he was 'out of network'. Therefore, I paid $350 per appointment to see him every 6 months. I also sunk thousands of dollars into bi-annual/annual MRIs, as my yearly $1500 deductible always needed to be met. Just for comparison, I am insured with TK, and I receive my current medication for 10 EUR a month. I do not need to submit any income/expense information for this, I just get my prescription from my doctor and bring it to the Apotheke. My last stay in the hospital (which lasted 3 days and included extensive testing-- MRIs, EEG, a visit from a physical therapist, and Cortisone treatment) yielded a 50 EUR bill. If I were still in the US, I would have needed to debate whether or not the attack was bad enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room and its associated costs. When Obama was president, my family used to ask why I don't come home. They have stopped asking, because do I even need to answer? It's a sad fact that America is a place where one literally cannot afford to be unlucky or unhealthy.
America needs to get with the program when it comes to healthcare #DAresists #Medicare4all
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