People with multiple sclerosis (MS), such as Elaine Shelly of Georgia, rely on expensive medications to manage their symptoms. But with a median price of just less than $100,000, many MS patients have to make difficult sacrifices to afford their drugs, or skip their medications altogether.
Elaine Shelly is pictured in June 2022. (Photo credit: Tia Williams of Strong Pointe Media)
Elaine was diagnosed with MS 30 years ago. Her condition carries debilitating symptoms and health care costs. MS treatments are some of the most expensive medications. Elaine’s current prescription drug is $9,000 per month with a $1,000 copay. Over the years, there were multiple times when Elaine could not afford her medication, and her relapses were so severe that she had to move into long-term care. Currently, Elaine accesses health care through the Affordable Care Act and uses a manufacturer coupon to cover her copays. But since turning 65 and applying for Medicare this year, she does not qualify for the coupon and worries she won’t be able to afford her copays. As a result of high drug prices and home care services, Elaine is planning to move to another country so she can access affordable health care. Elaine hopes that the Inflation Reduction Act will reduce prescription drug prices so the MS community won’t be forced to make sacrifices to afford their treatments.
I just turned 65 and applied for Medicare. But I know the medication I take is not on Medicare’s formulary, so at this point I don't know how that medication will be covered. If I don't have access to my prescription, I would be in a nursing home very quickly, and that’s not hyperbole.
Millions of Medicare recipients spend more than $2,000 out of pocket on their prescriptions. With the cap on out-of-pocket spending in the Inflation Reduction Act, people with MS will save thousands of dollars annually.
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