Once you have been diagnosed with cancer, getting the medication your oncologist prescribes becomes the top priority. Hopefully, you have easy access. But you may run into obstacles and not be able to get what you need. If your claim has been denied, take you prescription to the "Great Physician."
In How Cancer Cured Me, I wrote about acquiring medicine to treat my lung cancer. My prescribed cancer drug would cost $180,000 a year!?!? It promised to kick cancer to the curb, but could I get it? Despite my fears and fledgling faith, my health insurance approved my claim. Getting the medicine I need so far has been relatively easy.
Recently, I have been reminded that my experience differs greatly from that of many others. Doctors diagnosed one of our children with a serious medical condition. It is not cancer, or life threatening, but it is harmful to their health and wellbeing and could negatively impact their future if untreated.
We got the prescribed medication easily. In just two weeks, it appeared to be amazingly effective. To my surprise, when I attempted to refill the prescription, my health insurance company denied my claim.
Trying to understand why and what to do required countless phone calls to our insurance company, our physician, and the pharmacy. For several days, I spent hours entering my info, holding and listening to awful music, confirming my info, getting transferred from one department to another, receiving conflicting information, and even getting dropped from calls.
After a few days, the insurance rep passed me off to the pharmacy operations department. Another rep explained that our policy placed a lifetime maximum benefit for this medication. We were allowed one more week of medication, despite our doctor anticipated 6-18 months of treatment. The doctor and I would have to file an appeal to waive the limit.
I turned my attention to getting the remaining week’s supply of meds. This too turned out to be difficult. The doctor had to write and submit a new prescription to the specialty pharmacy, call it in as urgent, and request overnight delivery.
By this point, we had used up all the medicine. I called a few local drug stores to see about buying it directly from them. One could not get it for weeks. Another quoted me $1,639.00 per week. Another could not tell me anything until my doctor sent a prescription.
The next day, by the grace of God, after more hours on hold with the specialty pharmacy, I fumbled by phone into the right department. The representative, Marva, could not have been nicer or more helpful. In a matter of minutes, they reviewed the case notes, understood the situation, and set up the medication to be delivered the next day.
Marva also told me how the specialty pharmacy could provide the medication if the insurance company would not pay for it. I could easily and affordably order and self-pay for it. As our call concluded, I quipped that Marva must be short for marvelous.
The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:23
My medical mayday made me more aware of the struggle others face. It has also reminded me that of our God is “simply marvelous!”
No matter how hard life may get, God can do marvelous things. He can move the mountain, open doors, and make it happen. God can provide patience, hope, everything you need, including healing.
God sent his son Jesus to save us. Jesus is the Great Physician (Luke v.31, 32). He is the “healing balm of Gilead” (Jeremiah 8:22). He is the medicine. Jesus spent his ministry “healing every sickness and disease” (Matthew 9:35). He has the power to heal you with or without medicine. He can provide the medication you need. He can also heal you with a spoken word.
Most importantly, Jesus can heal your sin-sick soul. He can restore your relationship with God. Through faith in him, we are saved from sin and death. You can become like Jesus, know the Father's love, and live forever. Jesus gives us what St. Ignatius termed “the medicine of immortality.” If he can do that, there is no medicine he cannot provide.
For your prayerful consideration:
Research shows that ~25% of cancer patients cannot afford their cancer care. That is neither just nor compassionate. It certainly is far from God’s vision for our world. Let us pray and work for a better future. Check out this article from NPR.