MS is expensive. I say it so bluntly because there really isn’t any other way to sugarcoat it. Between the MRIs, specialist visits, medicine (both the drug and administration fees), occasional hospital visits, and other related costs (now I have glasses/contacts for my vision issues), it all adds up… quickly.
I must repeat this daily but I feel so fortunate to be in a position to have great medical coverage and the ability to cover the remaining costs. I realize that many aren’t so lucky. But, it doesn’t matter how much you make, these bills take a toll emotionally and cause added stress which is the last thing you need with MS.
Before starting Tysabri, I had to make sure I got approval from my insurance company. Once I did, I called them to verify the cost on my end since I heard monthly infusions were expensive (which turned out to be the understatement of the century). The hospital told me that without insurance my medication would cost approximately $6,600 all in. Yes, that’s $6,600 a MONTH. Even with my highest insurance plan on BCBS, that could require me to pay 10% of that total amount, making my monthly medical bills for medicine only astronomical. Who has that in their budget?! I was outraged.
I decided to call Biogen, the drug manufacturer for Tysabri, to see if I had any options. I wanted to be on the best medication but that monthly expense wasn’t feasible. Sure, we could make sacrifices and figure it out if we had to but it didn’t seem realistic that this drug could cost so much. I quickly learned that they had an assistance program and my medication would be free. FREE!! After answering some basic questions, they offered to pay whatever my insurance company wouldn’t. I was so pleasantly shocked… and so relieved.
Having MS comes with a lot of unknowns and stresses, with expenses being one of them. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt when I learned that my medication was one less thing I needed to worry about. While there will always be additional bills with managing a disease, I hope that this posts reminds others to call and see what assistance options are out there. I’m sure other drug manufacturers have similar programs, so explore your options. You’ve got nothing to lose by trying!
MS peeps – do you have any tips for lowering your medical costs? Please share for all of us!