By Sherri Green
Undergoing long term treatment for psoriasis can be extremely expensive, and as many as one third of psoriasis sufferers struggle to afford the cost of their care. Without the proper medical attention, the condition can become uncomfortable and even distressing. As a lifelong auto-immune disorder, finding an affordable treatment solution is vital.
Why Has Paying For Treatment Become Such An Issue?
The NPF, National Psoriasis Foundation, suggests that there are three major causes of payment problems among psoriasis sufferers:
- A complete lack of health insurance
- Costly co-pays for necessary treatment
- Limited insurance which does not cover psoriasis.
Without insurance coverage, the cost of on-going psoriasis treatment can quickly become unaffordable. One phototherapy session alone is expensive, and most sufferers need regular appointments as well as topical medication. Newer, more effective treatment methods can cost as much as $20,000 for full year. Fortunately, organizations like the NPF are working to reduce the cost of care and raise better understanding of the current system.
Obtaining Affordable Psoriasis Care
Fortunately, by carefully managing your treatment, it is possible to lower the overall amount you pay. The following steps can be useful for all psoriasis sufferers:
1)Ask To Be Prescribed Generic Medication
Generics may not be quite as effective as the leading brand name alternative, but they can be an effective substitute for anyone struggling to keep up with costs. A mid-strength steroid ointment, for instance, can be bought for as little as $4 per tube at Walmart, while some similar newly developed psoriasis creams total $500 or more. More expensive treatments might be able to offer slightly better results, but may not be worth paying so much extra.
2) Invest In Your Own Light Therapy Equipment
For anyone who has to co-pay on each visit to the doctor’s office, weekly light therapy sessions can become an exorbitant expense. Buying your own light therapy unit is often a smart long term investment. While the initial cost of equipment puts many people off, money saved on gas, time off work, and weekly appointment charges usually make it a worthwhile saving over a longer period of time. Sunlight is another alternative, but the fluctuating light levels will produce less predictable results and put you at risk of sunburn.
3) Research Financial Assistance
The NPF website covers a broad range of information on financial resources. On the site, you can find an extensive list of assistance programs which offer financial or medical aid to anyone finding it difficult to afford treatment.
Some drug manufacturers provide treatments like biologics for free to patients who need them. A manufacturer’s website will feature the details of the assistance they offer. Some of this aid is also available to people on medium incomes, not just those who are desperately poor.
4) Request Medication Samples
Requesting small samples of a new medication is a great way to test out its suitability before you commit to paying for a several month supply. Ask your doctor about the length of time to expect before results appear, so that you know the right trial size and don’t wait an unnecessarily long period of time to see possible improvements. Some
manufacturers will provide doctors with sample coupons which grant you discounted trial medication.
2) Compare Prices
Manufacturers do not set the final selling price of their medication, so the cost of drugs can vary dramatically between pharmacies. If you are paying for the whole prescription yourself, rather than a pre-set co-pay, it is worthwhile ringing several local pharmacies to compare. You could even shop online where it is easy to look at the prices offered by a wide range of good quality pharmacies.
Talk To Your Doctor About The Cost
Nowadays, doctors are happy to have an open discussion with patients about the cost of their treatment. Some people feel uncomfortable bringing prices up with medical professionals, but there is no reason to worry. Once a dermatologist understands your financial situation, they will be able to tailor a solution that best fits your budget. There is no point leaving your consultation with prescribed treatment you will never be able to afford.
Every insurance scheme has different small print, so doctors never know exactly what yours will cover. To save time and repeat visits, it is best to contact your insurance provider in advance of your appointment. Come prepared with a list of drugs which have low or no co-pay so that your doctor can decide on the most suitable course of action.
If you’re looking for some free ways to manage your Psoriasis the below article can be of use to you: