My name is Joyce and I’m from Ceylon, MN. I have multiple myeloma, which is a cancer of the blood plasma cells, and my treatments are extremely expensive.
So far, I have been able to afford my treatment because I chose to stay on my employer’s insurance even after I qualified for Medicare. My insurance plan costs around $14,000 a year including the premium, deductible, and copays for my general medical and drug coverage, though it has a maximum out-of-pocket cap at $350 for drugs annually. If I had switched to Medicare, I would have faced drug copays of $1,000 to $2,000 per month –– and that’s without factoring in the costs of the medical plan itself.
The prices of my drugs are also constantly increasing. If I relapse, I could easily go on prescription drugs that cost upwards of $20,000 per month. The out-of-pocket cap on my current plan prevents me from having to pay for these inexplicable price increases.
Though I am currently doing well, I am worried that I will not be able to afford the cost of my insurance plan in the future, or even a supplemental plan. I am 66 years old and disabled, and my husband is 82 years old, so we cannot work.
I mostly pay for the premium through grants from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but these grants are given annually and can go away at any time. There were a couple of years when I did not have a grant or the grants weren’t enough to cover my insurance costs, and I had to use my retirement savings. If I lose the grants again, I will have to borrow on my house, use what little is left of my retirement savings, and go on welfare. There’s always anxiety in the back of my mind, and I constantly worry about what I will do when I am no longer able to pay for my treatments.