An Apple a Day, But Where Can I Find the Apples?

September 4, 2009

An Apple a Day, But Where Can I Find the Apples?


Hello. My name is Dr. Michael Aaronson, MD, I’m a kidney doctor. I specialize in kidney problems and high blood pressure. It’s a pleasure to be part of the CHI Health family. To read more about me (and CHI Health Nephrology), please feel free to check out my bio page. I am looking forward to providing high quality content in multiple formats including MP3 and video on YouTube. I encourage you all to participate, weighing in at your convenience. So let’s get started!

Buy the Apple
I truly appreciate Dr. Van De Graaff’s position on generic medications. His points are well taken. However, sometimes the generic co-pays can add up to be prohibitively expensive. So what can we do about that?

One option to consider to help you navigate through the quagmire of options is to utilize a service here in Omaha, Nebraska. The service is called Volunteers Assisting Seniors (VAS). They do legal services, conservators, homestead exemption, and most importantly for the purpose of this discussion: The Nebraska Senior Health Insurance and Information Program (SHIP). The SHIP program specializes in Medicare. It helps seniors enroll in an appropriate plan that fits the person’s needs. I like this program because it offers a non-biased approach to help you get the medications and services that you need.

Take the Apple
Now, once you have access to the meds, your next step is to remember to take your medication. If you don’t take it, it can’t help you.

Case Study
Here is an example of an approach to consider: Fall is approaching … a 65 year old who has had a heart stent placed and needs significant cholesterol reduction requiring a branded product has just run out of money and is in the donut hole. He can’t afford his medication. What can he do?

He can stop taking his medication. Or, he can consider samples – if available. Perhaps switching to a less expensive generic for 2 months – then restarting his original prescription in January – is an option. Maybe he should call VAS to make sure he is in the right plan.
Do you have any other ideas on how we can help this patient? Please comment below.

So think ahead, utilize available services, and stay healthy!

One Comment
  1. Avatar

    Eric Van De Graaff

    Dr. Aaronson, Thanks for the good information--I'll pass this website along to my internet-savvy patients. Another resource some patients may be able to take advantage of is the rebate/discount cards many pharmaceutical companies offer for branded drugs. The cards, which are free from your prescribing physician, can cut the cost of an expensive drug by a considerable margin. Unfortunately this program applies mainly to patients not on Medicare, but those under 65 who are used to a substantial copay may find it beneficial. Just ask your doctor. Also, congratulations on your first blog post. I look forward to following along. Eric

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