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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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Medicaid limits medication

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: My mother gets Medicaid. She is 75 and on state assistance from Iowa. She is needing more inhalers than Medicaid allows in a single month. She has emphysema laced with asthma. She has taken real good care of herself and for that she has been able to stay away from the oxygen tank However, she is at a point where her inhalers are becoming less effective. She needs more assistance in paying for these. She uses Combivent. Medicaid is using Unicare in her case. I am wondering if she can purchase an additional prescription plan without the state messing with her? Also, what would you recommend. The inhalers run her roughly $100.00 each and she is paying for 3 per month. And she can't keep up with this. Any ideas?

A: Your question underscores two important issues. First, the emerging financial issue of rationing of health care that will increasingly affect those like your mother who are on welfare programs. Our ability to provide medical care to the poor is far outpacing our ability and willingness to pay for this care. Also, your question emphasizes the importance of separating a financial response from a medical response. The only logical response here is to address the problem from a medical perspective, not a financial perspective. It seems unlikely that more money or more insurance is the solution here. We are not qualified to give a medical response. Sorry we have no specific response, but by sharing your story others may be able to plan ahead for health care in the future.


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