Monday, November 27, 2006

Dear HMO Blue,

My son and I are both asthmatic. We would love to manage our asthma and stay out of the hospital. However, the co-pays on our prescriptions are very high. We are supposed to have comprehensive drug coverage. However a single disk of Advair is $45, and a single Flovent inhaler is $25. This literally makes managing asthma with daily steroid inhalers prohibitively expensive.

Do you realize that you are making it cheaper for people to just get sick and go to the hospital than it is for them to buy their monthly prescriptions? Is that good sense?

It seems unfair for the consumers to get penalized because there are no generic alternatives to Flovent and Advair, both of which have been on the market for years. The $45 for Advair which expires after 30 days seems particularly unreasonable. HMO Blue should be putting it's energy and advocacy to forcing the FDA to bring generic drugs on the market more quickly. Look what happened with Claritin. It's affordable and easy to get now and I have heard no stories of people misusing it. (I suppose the exception is claritin D which has sudafed in it.) But $45 is half a week's groceries for most families.

Prescription drug coverage isn't just a problem for senior citizens. It's even a problem for us with expensive insurance plans with drug coverage.