When I applied for health insurance earlier this year, after losing the plum deal I had at the job I quit, I opted not to disclose the fact that I have asthma. Because even though it's sort of Asthma, Jr.--more an occasional lung tightness than a wheezy, all-out attack kind of thing--it's still enough to make insurance companies slam their doors in my face.
This was all well and good until I looked at my Pulmicort inhaler (which I use every day) last night and saw the approach of the red line that demarcates Full and Empty. So I went to Walgreens this afternoon to order a refill, told the pharmacist I'd be paying in cash rather than using my insurance, and asked what the damage would be. I was ready for some vaguely ridiculous sum, but I wasn't ready for $180.
Now, I fully admit that I was far luckier than most with the insurance I had under Microsoft. It covered everything--absolutely, positively everything--with not a deductible or a co-pay in sight, so I never had to know that the little inhaler that keeps my lungs calm costs a small fortune. And I'm still relatively lucky, in that this is the only medication I take and, if needed, I can pay for it and not have to go without food or shelter or heat.
But I'm too stubborn to fork over nearly 200 bucks for medication I need because of a condition I can't control (I don't smoke, I exercise regularly, I'm not overweight, I eat well, and it's not like I'm huffing glue or anything). And I'm doubly stubborn because a quick Google search reveals that I can get the self-same Pulmicort Turbuhaler for $70 if I order it from a Canadian pharmacy.
$70 versus $180. Am I crazy enough to pay two-and-a-half times the price to get my medicine down the street than to have it imported? I am not. So I called Canadapharmacy.com and signed myself up.
Come and get me, John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales: I'm joining the growing hordes of Americans who are breaking the law by having prescriptions that are mind-bendingly expensive here at home shipped in. I can put my $110 to much better use than lining the already excessively lined pockets of Astra Zenica.