My name is Melissa Evans and I live in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Over the past two decades, the high prices of prescriptions have defined most decisions I make.
In 1998, when I was only 24 years old, I suffered a heart attack that changed my life. I could no longer work and struggled through the process of getting insurance through Medicare disability. During this time, I had no insurance and had to face the full list prices of my prescriptions –I had no way of affording any of the prescriptions that I needed. Still to this day, I don’t know how I survived those years without any medication for my health conditions.
I now live with a thyroid issue, skin cancer, asthma, heart conditions, hypoglycemia, and high blood pressure. To treat my diagnoses, my doctors have prescribed 20 medications. Each carries its own monthly copay and they can add up to $500 out of pocket in just one month, even though I now have Medicare coverage.
Half of the time, I can’t even fill my prescriptions because of the high copays. I’ve had to choose between filling my prescriptions, getting much-needed surgeries, and paying my bills. These decisions often seem impossible to make. If I don’t take my medications, I’m neglecting myself. But I still want to pay my bills on time and live a full life. I was previously pretty active, but my diagnoses and the high-priced prescriptions that come along with them have put my life on hold.
With such high drug prices, the new reforms passed by Congress through the Inflation Reduction Act will be a huge relief for me. I currently spend more than $2,000 in out-of-pocket costs by the middle of the year, even while rationing some of my prescriptions and going entirely without others. With the new Medicare out-of-pocket cap of $2,000 in 2025, I’ll see my annual costs reduced and be able to fill my prescriptions without worrying about going over the cap.
Also, one of the drugs I take, Linzess, will potentially be among the first eligible to be negotiated by Medicare, which could also lower my costs while saving the government money!
These reforms will truly be transformational for so many of the millions of patients struggling right now. I know so many other people in similar situations to me who ration their drugs and still worry every month about making ends meet. With consistent and lower costs at the pharmacy counter, the Inflation Reduction Act will make a world of difference for patients like us. This relief can’t come soon enough!