*Sigh* I had hoped that it wouldn’t come to this, but it has. The ugly truth is– I am losing my battle with cancer. I have spent the last two and a half years fighting for life. I’ve successfully fought it off twice, but I find myself in battle again. And this time, along with cancer, I have to fight my medical insurance company, AvMed. I’ve done everything I could have. The medical insurance premium comes from my husband’s check, bi-weekly, without fail. Who knew that after more than a decade of carrying the Avmed policy, I would be diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer? Since diagnosis, traditional chemotherapy has bought me only brief respites from treatment, the longest lasting about 10 months. I was in treatment during the holidays of 2013, 2014, and now, 2015.
This time, my doctor highly recommended a research study, using a combination of 2 oral chemo drugs that have not been approved for my cancer. He’s seen some success with it and thinks that I am an excellent candidate. He prescribed them both. I’ve been taking one of them (Drug A) for a couple months now. It is not FDA approved for my cancer. My prescription copayment for this drug is $5.14 for a month’s supply and AvMed pays $283.85. My local pharmacy told me that the other drug (Drug B) is about $18k for a month’s supply. AvMed has refused to pay for this drug, saying that they will only pay for drugs that are FDA approved for my cancer. Wait. Did they forget that Drug A isn’t approved either? Interesting, huh? Kind of makes one thing it’s NOT about the FDA approval, but rather about the dollars, huh?
Here’s the other thing. Back in 2013, Florida passed a bill called the Oral Chemo Parity Act. Here’s what it says:
“… individual and group health insurance or health maintenance policies that provide coverage for cancer treatment medications to provide coverage for oral medications in a manner no less favorable than those provided intravenously or as injectables. This legislation becomes effective on July 1, 2014.”
This means that I should receive oral drugs as easily as i do traditional ones.
I am literally in a fight for my life. And, I’m not alone in this. Many others in the battle against cancer have been refused medicine by their insurance company and have just given up. My social media streams are full of folks fighting for all kinds of things. I’m choosing to carry the flag for my fellow cancer patients, and those yet to be diagnosed.
I’ve reached out to my Congresswoman, my Senators, my Governor, mmedia, etc. Now I’m reaching out to you.
Here’s how you can help:
- Sign my petition at Change.org. Push it out to your social media networks. Us the hashtag #JEWELvsAVMED. This will take less 30 seconds and a couple clicks.
- Participate in my Twitter Chat this Monday night, Dec 7th, at 9pm est. The hashtag is #JEWELvsAVMED. Invite your networks to participate, as well. This will take less than 1 hour. (If you need quick instruction on how do participate, let me know.)
- Share this post with others, using the hashtag #JEWELvsAVMED.
- Tell me about how cancer has affected your life. Include the hashtag and tag me your social media posts. I’d love to read your stories, as they give me strength and resolve.
- Talk about my situation on your social networks. Include the hashtag #JEWELvsAVMED. This lets me track the conversation.
- Keep me (and all cancer survivors) in your prayers.
I’ve lived most of my life thinking that I knew my purpose. I now believe that I have been wrong the whole time. I think that God has always intended for me to lead and I never saw it. THIS is my purpose. I’ve accepted it and even embrace it. But I can only do it with help. Thank you for helping.