Each year, starting school brings both excitement and dread for me.
I’m excited because the boys get to back to school for year and get a world-class education :) But, the dread that comes along with that is completing all of the required doctor forms. If your child is 100% healthy, consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to complete school forms that nearly cause carpel tunnel, especially when your kids have health issues.
I’m not complaining (well, sort of) because we are VERY fortunate to live in a district that has a school nurse on site. With our boys allergies and asthma, this is a blessing and truly helps to eliminate more missed school days since she can administer breathing treatments, inhalers, and Epi-Pens. Although, Since T's in 6th grade now and I still visit school if he needs a breathing treatment. What can I say, Mom's the best nurse!
Luckily, we have never needed to administer an Epi-Pen (knock on wood). But, we always ensure that the school has one on-hand (as should any parent whose children has allergies. I’m not a doctor, nor do I pretend to play one, but allergies are serious business you don't mess with). We also have to ensure we have one with us at all times. This can add up quickly with co-pays when you figure out all the places you need to be safe and carry an Epi-Pen to have on hand for an unfortunate accident.
Prescription co-pays vary on insurance companies. Our co-pay is $15 for generic meds, which is average. But, with Epi-Pens, we had to pay the brand name co-pay since there wasn't a generic option. That was $100 for two Epi-Pens. Considering how many we needed to have for school, home, etc, it adds up.
Until this year!
I was SO ecstatic to find out that generic Epi-Pens are now available! I tweeted about this several weeks ago in case you saw that conversation. Whenever I drop off the prescriptions for the Epi's, I always ask the pharmacy tech to check the expiration dates in the store. When she pulled out the box to check the expiration, I asked her if that was correct since it was different. She then said it was generic and I said Hallelujah!!
I wasn't sure if they made Epi-Pen Jr's since I was so excited I forgot to ask. However, weeks later I found out because Andon now needs one too (oh, allergies are a beautiful thing I tell ya…NOT). T uses an adult size Epi since he makes the weight cut off. Obviously, Andon can’t do that. So, I get his prescription filled for an Epi-Jr (smaller dose) and they had generic available for the Epi-Jr as well!!
We always paid $100 each year for our Epi-Pens. Those typically lasted for an entire school year. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not truly a huge deal. But with back to school time and shopping for necessities (albeit, purchasing all school required items less expensive), it was a nice surprise to our budget!
This year, we paid $30 for both boys which is for four Epi-Pens!
By the way, if you need Epi-Pens, I STRONGLY encourage always verifying the expiration dates before you pay and take your prescription. Make sure they are close to a year from the date of your purchase. When I first started getting these for T, I never knew to look and would get some that expired within months.
As a side note regarding the expiration dates on the Epi-Pens (and other drugs). To be in compliance with all State Laws (in Ohio, I assume everywhere else), the school should not have expired meds on file. With a high co-pay as we have, and an expiration date within months of the start of school, the short expiration date for just a few months was money down the drain. I had to purchase new Epi-Pens before the end of the school year knowing that he would not likely need to use those either! So, definitely check the expiration dates. Just do not pay before you check as most pharmacies will not accept prescriptions back once you’ve taken it.
As any parent would, regardless of the cost, we would and will buy these year after year and pray that we never have to use them! At least now with a generic form available, we can feel some relief in knowing that the kids are protected and we are saving a little too!
Please consult your doc before choosing generic as the best option for your medical care. We have always purchased generic whenever they have been available and our doctors have not instructed otherwise. Purchasing generic medications are a way to save as well.
Do you have family members who need Epi-Pens? Will you consider the Generic version?
Read some more on how we saved on Health Care – $7,000 was worth the call!