Finding Financial Resources for Insurance and Prescription Medication Costs with impact of COVID-19
I receive the most requests for financial help with prescription costs. Understandably so, myeloma is a very costly disease. More than ever before there are new treatments that have become available affording patients more treatment options. Unfortunately these treatments come with a very steep cost. Couple that with the current economic environment, the loss of employment as a result of COVID-19, the loss of private insurance, and the perfect storm in paying for treatment has emerged.
Let's take a look at some of the options you should consider if you have found yourself in a more precarious financial position than just a few short months ago.
Loss of Job
You should still have options to enroll in COBRA. There is a time limit on this option so make sure you don't miss it. Your employer will be sending the enrollment package in the mail to you. Generally COBRA lasts for 18 months. The cost will be significantly more expensive than the insurance through your employer because you are now paying the entire premium. You may also choose to review Marketplace Medical Insurance plans available in your state. These plans were established through the Affordable Care Act. If you qualify, the premium may cost a lot less than COBRA. In some cases you may have no cost for your premiums. It can also reduce or completely pay for prescriptions as well depending on your income. It would be to your advantage to review that option. Some states have their own state funded programs.
If you're married and your spouse has medical insurance through their employer, this change of life status may allow you to be picked up by their employer. Your spouse will need to contact their employer's benefit department to review this option.
Prescription Medication Costs
Now let's assume you have reviewed all of your options for insurance coverage and have that part taken care of and the cost of your medications are still much too high to maintain. Then here are your options:
- First, Ask your doctor if there is a less expensive option available. Let your doctor know that the cost of your treatment is becoming a concern for you. Ask if there is a financial advocate on staff that can direct you to financial resource help.
- Ask your pharmacist if they know of any cost saving available to you for specific drugs. You may find that they can sometimes get you partially or fully covered in only a few short minutes.
- Review the Financial Resource Page that is posted on The Myeloma Crowd Website. This contains a lot of the medications that are used for myeloma, the associated pharmaceutical companies that have financial help available and the link or number to contact them. You will need to provide them with your income, medications etc. They will make a determination and get back to you usually within 7-10 business days. Sometimes sooner.
Medicare part D
If you are on Medicare part D and find you may be reaching your yearly limit on coverage, don't wait for that to happen. Review your options now so you will not have a lapse in treatment.
Everyone's financial situation is different. If you find yourself with more questions then answers, please reach out to me on the MyelomaCoach website. I will be more than glad to point you in the right direction. As new, or additional resources become available as a result of COVID-19, we will share them as well as add them to our financial resource page.
Diahanna Vallentine, BCPA
Thanks to our Myeloma Coach sponsors