Health and Wellness

They refused to accept costly treatment from their insurance companies.

Ted Fristrom 52 is an English professor living in Bala Cynwyd. He suffers from severe nasal polyps as well as asthma. He began using Dupixent in 2019, an injectable drug which transformed his life. It allowed him to breathe, smell, and stop taking asthma and sinus medication. In October 2022, his Dupixent prescription was due to be renewed. But, after calling his insurance, his doctors and the pharmacy, coverage was denied. His asthma and breathing problems returned after he stopped taking the drug.

My 20-year-old ear-nose and throat specialist had done three major operations on me. It’s kind of like having low-key covid all the time — this dry hacking cough. My sinuses were covered by sinus polyps until there was no more air. I did have one serious infection probably related to my sinuses 12 years ago — that ended up becoming bacterial meningitis.

During [the pandemic]The doctor who prescribed the drug was no longer available. I had a telemedicine call with someone who helped me renew the prescription. [prescription] One time. The next time, however, the process got clogged up. I kept calling them, and they never returned my calls. I had no idea how complicated the paperwork was.

They cut me off [in October 2022]There was no safety net, no asthma prescriptions, and I didn’t have any insurance. I was still waiting for the drug’s effects to wear off. My coughing was getting worse. I’d take two covid tests every week just to make sure it’s the sinus polyps and not omicron. It wasn’t until the second or third week of January that I got it approved. It took me three months.

I did experience mild PTSD from the meningitis. This is often triggered when people call about insurance. This was something that took me some time to understand. Talking to people about insurance makes me extremely angry. I always thought it was righteous indignation, but after awhile I was realizing, I’ve never felt this unmitigated rage at anyone over something that seems so trivial.

I estimate that I spent at most 24 hours on the telephone. It would most likely be waiting for someone on the other end to pick up my line. At least I know what I’m doing now. I’m choosing [a new ENT specialist] Someone I know has completed paperwork for Dupixent. That’s the only criteria I care about.

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