Paying for Hepatitis C Treatment: Tips and Self-Advocacy
The new medications are amazing for those who have Hepatitis C. The cure rate is higher. The duration of treatment is lower. The side effects are much less harsh. It seems like all we hear is good news. Except, the new treatment is so costly that it prevents many people with hepatitis C from being able to get treated. In this article I share tips about paying for hepatitis C treatment and self-advocacy in getting coverage.
Wouldn’t it be grand if there were a direct path with logical steps to getting treated? Well, that is not happening any time soon. Many patients are currently stuck in a circular path that is spiraling into nowhere. There is no one direction to follow, but there are ways that you can increase your chances of getting treatment you can afford. Use the following tips and guidelines to help you in the process of getting treated for the Hepatitis C Virus.
Know your medical history and communicate with your healthcare team
Start a personal medical file. It may be an accordion type file or a simple manila envelope. Also purchase a notebook and carry it with you to every appointment. It will be your one stop source for important phone contacts, policy numbers, medical records, proof of income, and other documents.
Know your own health condition. The tendency right now is to provide treatment for those who have advanced liver disease. You need to get copies of all lab results, liver biopsies, and any other tests performed. Keep them in your file. Government managed health care and also private insurance will want this information when determining if you are eligible to start treatment soon.
Start with your doctor or health care provider. They will make initial application to your insurance provider. Your medical office may also be aware of foundations, grants, or other websites that offer financial assistance to patients. There are programs to help with co-payments also.
Paying for hep C treatment: hotlines and insurance coverage
Call the specialty pharmacies yourself. Many have a patient hotline. Ask them what programs are available to help reduce your out of pocket medical costs. Let them know you are shopping around and need help. Many of the answers will be scripted, but you can also get some information that can lead to more answers. Take notes!
Know what your insurance policy covers and what it does not. Write down the main points. Know what your co-pays and deductibles are. Call your insurance company and ask them to clear up any questions you have. If they deny treatment, tell them you want to appeal. Your doctor may have to fill out paperwork and send to the insurance company. Follow up on that yourself.
By following the above guidelines, you will become your own advocate. No one is more motivated to fight for your health than you are. New drugs are being approved by the FDA and hitting the market all the time. This results in more competitive pricing, which can work in your favor. Do not give up in your chance to be free of the hepatitis C virus!
Does reading hep C patient stories aid you in your journey?