Julia Boss’s daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2015, just before her ninth birthday. Like many people who are self-employed, Boss purchased a health insurance plan through the federal marketplace with high out-of-pocket costs. Until she reached a $6,000 deductible, Boss paid $251 for a vial of insulin and $381 for a box of cartridges for an insulin injection pen that her daughter uses at school. Boss also paid $198 for emergency glucagon kits that could save her daughter’s life should her blood sugar levels suddenly drop.
Boss had no choice but to pay huge costs to keep her daughter alive. Her story echoes many that have emerged in media coverage over the past year as public outcry grows over rising prescription drug prices. Notorious cases of price gouging by the likes of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Mylan and Martin Shkreli have drawn plenty of media attention and left the public fuming, but greedy pharmaceutical executives are not the sole focus of Boss’s frustration. Boss says insurance companies have been lying to her — and the rest of us — about drug prices, and she found herself paying more than her insurance plan does for insulin before hitting her deductible.
“[I feel] cheated and lied to, yes,” Boss told Truthout. “Though devastated might be the best word.”