A diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma can be overwhelming, but remember that knowing is half the battle. Once you’ve received the tough news, you can look forward. One of the first things to do is talk to your doctor about the different mesothelioma treatment options that are available to you.
We’re not just talking about chemotherapy. We’re also talking about other medications that you may need to deal with symptoms like pain and nausea.
Of course, the costs for these treatments are considerable, but that in no way means that you don’t have a right to access the best medicines. Here’s what you need to know about your mesothelioma treatment payment choices.
Physicians want better options for patients
Recently, CNNMoney discussed an editorial, released by the journal Blood, in which the authors talked about how disturbed they are by an apparent trend in which pharmaceutical companies charge exorbitant prices for cancer medications. They argued that this practice was particularly unethical in light of the fact that patients may die without these drugs.
The doctors who wrote the article said that the six-figure annual price tag attached to some medications are unjustifiable. Meanwhile, one drug company responded to these criticisms by pointing out how significantly its medications improved the lives of patients.
Even insured patients can have difficulty paying for meds
Patients who have health insurance may assume that their drugs are automatically covered, but that may not be the case. Different health plans have varying policies when it comes to chemotherapy, particularly if the medication has to be administered within a health facility rather than at home. In some cases, the policies can change on a monthly basis.
When discussing your mesothelioma treatment payment options with your provider, it’s important to check your health plan as well to see what’s covered.
Because many mesothelioma patients are senior citizens, they may be eligible for or covered by Medicare. While the Part A plan covers chemotherapy for hospital inpatients, a Part B plan pays for individuals who are treated on an outpatient basis. Co-payments apply, however. For those with Original Medicare, you’ll pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount if you undergo your chemotherapy treatment in a doctor’s office or freestanding clinic.
What if I don’t have insurance?
If you don’t have a medical plan and you have limited financial resources, you should ask the clinician who diagnosed your disease for a referral to a social worker. This individual can connect you to valuable resources and maybe even determine if you’re eligible for Medicaid or veterans’ benefits.
Another option worth exploring is a patient drug assistance program. Pharmaceutical companies offer this service to those who have no insurance, cannot afford their medications at the retail price and complete the required applications. These forms are usually available on the companies’ websites. Be prepared to provide proof of income, tax forms and Social Security benefits letters. It will also be very helpful to go over these forms with your doctor, who can fill in the required medical history information.
You may have to reapply with each new prescription you get from your doctor, so keep copies of these forms and update them when needed.
And, if you still have a problem with the prices that drug companies are charging, remember that you, as a patient and consumer, have a voice. Share your concerns with anyone who will listen, including doctors, patient advocacy groups, newspapers and the drug companies themselves.
Also, if your illness is a consequence of the actions of an irresponsible party, remember that a mesothelioma lawyer can help you acquire some much needed funds by representing you in the legal system to ensure that justice is served.