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November 2008

Medication Prices and Insurance Companies

My husband worked for a major manufacturing company for 33 years before being forced into early retirement. Trained as a physicist, he spent most of his time working on computerized instrumentation. The last few years he worked were not pleasant for him, but he stuck it out. One reason he stayed was to ensure that we'd have health benefits, including prescription drug coverage, after he retired. The new Medicare prescription plans changed it somewhat. The mail order prescription plan that continued after his retirement, along with the premiums we pay, became his Medicare drug plan. It's my regular prescription insurance until I reach Medicare age, when it will become my Medicare drug plan.

Anyway, he stuck it out so we'd have the coverage, and we still pay our monthly premiums as well. We are "encouraged" to use the mail order plan instead of local pharmacies by having to pay a larger percentage of the prescription cost if we persist in using local pharmacies. THAT may be about to change, for me anyway.

A friend of mine uses Wal-Mart's $4 generic prescription program. She told me it's even better if you buy a three-month supply of your meds. It's $10 for a 90-day supply. If you take more than the average amount of a medication, it can go as high as $20 for that 90-day supply. Hmmmmmmmm. Our copay on a 90-day supply of a generic medication is $16 OR 25% of the price of the prescription, whichever is more. That means that I have several prescriptions that will actually cost us less if I DON'T use our insurance. It's not as if Wal-Mart is bigger and sells more medications than our mail order company. It's one of the largest, if not THE largest, of all of them.

It just seems to me that there's something fundamentally wrong with this picture. A man works for the same company from college graduation to retirement. One of the reasons he works so hard is to ensure that he and his family will have benefits after retirement. He continues paying insurance premiums after retirement. Yet, many prescription medications are LESS expensive when they are paid for out-of-pocket, withOUT using insurance.

Don't get me wrong. I'm very grateful to have insurance coverage. This prescription price issue, however, just seems WRONG.

Well, that's my gripe for the day. How is YOUR day going? :-)

Yes, I Capitalize Migraine

MigrainecapitalizeA few people have asked my why I capitalize the word "Migraine." A few have pointed out to me that it's technically incorrect to do so. All the style guides say that only diseases and conditions named after people (such as Alzheimer's) should be capitalized. I realize that, but this is an advocacy and awareness issue for me.

  • To make the word Migraine stand out from the word headache. Too many myths and misconceptions about Migraine disease still exist. One of the most aggravating misconceptions is that Migraine is "just a bad headache." To see if you can tell truth from misconception, see our Dispelling Migraine Myths Quiz.
  • To raise both patient and public awareness. More attention is typically paid to capitalized words.
  • To indicate that Migraine is a potentially serious disease. More and more, we're learning that Migraines may not be harmless. Take a look at the recent article Yes, Migraines Can Cause Brain Damage.
  • Just on general principles. I figure that any disease that causes so many people so much pain and so many problems should be capitalized.

If you've been wondering why I capitalize Migraine, now you know. I realize it's technically incorrect but don't care. It's my little rebellion. Wink