Advocating for Better Access to Rheumatic Care: Krista’s Story
April 25, 2023 | Patient SpotlightTake Action
I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) 20 years ago, so I have a lot of personal experience dealing with limited access to affordable and timely rheumatic care.
RA can significantly impact your everyday routine and quality of life, making simple things like brushing your teeth or your hair a struggle, so it’s important to seek care. When I was first diagnosed with RA in 2002, there was only one rheumatologist where I lived, responsible for treating thousands of patients. After being told my only treatment option was methotrexate—which my body did not tolerate—I had to travel more than 100 miles twice a month to see a rheumatologist at the University of Washington.
Now I’m lucky to have a nearby rheumatologist, but I am still subject to high drug prices and insurance red tape. I pay over $500 a month in copays, and as a retiree with a Medicare Advantage plan, I cannot use any copay assistance to lower the sky-high costs. Additionally, practices like prior authorization have delayed my prescriptions from being filled for months at times. Having switched from Enbrel to Cimzia to several other biologics over the years, I’ve had to answer to insurers time and time again. Insurance companies should not be able to dictate my treatment or have a say in what my doctor and I think is best for my health.
I’m lucky to have a supportive spouse who is there to help me through my RA journey, and I’m still trying to live my life to the fullest—but not every patient can navigate their way through the pain, mental struggles, and insurance roadblocks. That’s why it’s so important for patients like me to share their stories and advocate for better access to affordable rheumatic care.
Just as I did, one way to share your story is through the ACR and Simple Tasks patient survey. This short, 5-question survey only takes a few minutes to fill out and can go a long way in supporting ACR’s advocacy efforts.