• Medicaid Matters Florida

I shouldn't have to chose between insulin and feeding my family.

By. Sandra A., Lee County

How many of us have heard about older people eating cat and dog food just so they can save money for their medications? I recently was put on insulin and can’t believe how expensive it is! I have insurance and still pay $90 for a 90-day supply of insulin. When you’re low income, that $90 is the difference between eating and going hungry. It’s money that could be used to pay another bill or grocery money. For diabetics, insulin is something you can’t do without. If you need it, you need it! It should be affordable.

I was in the hospital recently, and doctors gave me a steroid to control my asthma. Steroids are known to make blood sugar rise in diabetics. The doctor said the steroids were temporary but kept me on them to open up my lungs after I was discharged. I was originally on Metformin, a pill, to help with my diabetes. Then, they put me on insulin.

I’ve struggled with my asthma for a long time. A few years ago, I had bronchitis and went to the Emergency Room on three different occasions. I should have been admitted, but because I didn’t have health insurance, they gave me antibiotics and sent me home. Later I was at my local health department for an annual well woman exam and was wheezing really bad. The nurse told me about Lee Community Care, a local clinic that works on sliding fee scale. I started seeing a doctor at the clinic and paid $15 or $20 for my visits. After fighting for six years, I was finally approved for Social Security Disability, which comes with Medicare for insurance. Lee Community Care accepts Medicare so I’m still able to see my doctor. Lee Community Care has a great program for the uninsured in Lee County. The only bad side is that I wouldn’t have known about it had the nurse not said something.

My husband works for a small company that doesn’t offer health insurance, and we can’t afford private insurance. We don’t qualify for Medicaid because they say we make too much money. My husband has high blood pressure and should be on medication. He’s gone to the Emergency Room a few times, but they can’t prescribe prescription refills. They tell him to follow up with a doctor, but we can’t afford it. I worry about him. We’ve talked about him getting care at Lee Community Care, but he would have to leave work early which would reduce his pay. We really can’t afford that especially since he is the only one working. Luckily our 13-year old daughter has Florida Kidcare. She’s one of the smartest students in her school, and we’re proud of her. I do worry about her, though. When she was younger, she had asthma pretty bad. With the Coronavirus out there, I’m scared that her asthma might return.

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