Cracking the Code Mastering Financial Planning for Multiple Sclerosis

Financial Planning for Multiple Sclerosis Patients Strategies for a Secure Future

The Cost of Multiple Sclerosis Treatment: Financial Help is Just a Leap Away!

By Lisa Lundy, multiple sclerosis case manager, as told to Keri Wiginton

It’s normal to worry about the cost of multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment. You may wonder how you’ll predict anything about an unpredictable disease. While you don’t want to get yourself in a panic, you do want to prepare for what may come. But wait, take a breath. Try not to think about your financial future for a moment. Let’s take a leap into the world of financial help!

When it comes to MS treatment costs, it’s wild how they differ for everyone. But one thing is for sure, you’ll likely need ongoing medication and those thrilling follow-up MRIs.

To navigate this rollercoaster, you don’t have to ride it alone. If you get treatment at an MS-focused center, a case manager like me can help problem-solve your money issues or medical needs. Think of me as your guide, helping you dodge those financial pitfalls. But hey, even if you receive treatment elsewhere, don’t fret! There are plenty of other options, like your doctor, a social worker, nurse educator, or a patient navigator who can show you the way to financial support and peace of mind.

Speaking of support, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is like the ultimate superhero in the world of MS. They have everything from financial planning services to resources that will make your head spin. Not sure where to turn? Their MS navigators are ready to come to the rescue if your hospital network falls short of expectations.

Now let’s talk about those MRIs. It’s a relief to know that most insurance providers cover part, or sometimes all, of the cost. But what if you don’t have coverage or can’t afford what your plan doesn’t pay? Fear not, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America’s MRI Access Program is here to save the day.

But wait, there’s even more support available! The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation is like a never-ending source of assistance. They can help you pay for rides to the doctor, medical bills, physical therapy, or even assistive devices. The possibilities are endless!

Let’s not forget to keep an eye on your health insurer. They can be as sneaky as a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Many plans split medication into different tiers, and unfortunately, your out-of-pocket costs escalate with each one. But here’s the tricky part: insurance plans love switching up their “preferred” coverage without any warning. So it’s always a good idea to check with them before you get your treatment or pick up a prescription. You don’t want any surprises!

Now, what if your insurance provider refuses to pay for the drug your doctor says you need? As frustrating as it may seem, don’t throw in the towel just yet. There’s still hope! First, find out why they denied it. In many cases, an appeal from your doctor can work wonders. If the insurance denies your medication once again, it’s time to bring in the big guns. Reach out to the company that manufactures your drug. They might just grant you your medication for free. And if all else fails, your doctor can explore alternative options. Trust me, in today’s world, there are plenty of MS drugs that work like magic.

Now, here’s a little secret — losing your health insurance doesn’t mean you have to give up on treatment. There are ways to get your care covered even in the absence of insurance. You just need someone with insider knowledge to help you find the right programs and get you back on track. Like a superhero coming to your rescue!

Let’s talk about copay assistance. Your health insurance may approve your MS medication, but there’s often a copay hanging over your head. Those sneaky copays can drain your bank account faster than a slot machine in Vegas! Luckily, many drugmakers offer copay assistance for people with private insurance. However, if you have a government plan like Medicare or Medicaid, the extra help may be out of reach. But fear not, my friend! There are still ways to access copay assistance, even without insurance coverage! And if you’re curious to learn more, The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has a treasure trove of information on how to pay for those precious prescriptions.

Now, let’s dive into the exciting world of adaptive equipment covered by insurance. Imagine you’re in need of a wheelchair, a Hoyer lift, or even a hospital bed. Good news! Insurance companies generally cover the costs of these major medical devices. You just need your doctor to fill out a form explaining why you need them. But hold on a second! Not everything is as straightforward as it seems. Sometimes, those pesky insurance providers might not foot the entire bill for certain assistive devices. Walkers, for example, can be a bit of a tightrope walk when it comes to coverage. And electric hospital beds? Well, insurance providers might consider them a luxury. But don’t lose hope! Always check with your plan to get a clear view of your out-of-pocket costs. And if you’re in need of home modifications, look no further than the incredible team at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They’re like wizards in every state, ready to help assess your home and assist with obtaining the changes you need. They might even sprinkle a little financial magic to make it happen!

Now let’s shift gears and talk about short- and long-term care coverage, shall we? MS is like a rollercoaster ride with unexpected twists and turns. Some people with MS feel hardly any different than those without it. They might experience a bit more fatigue or have trouble walking long distances, but that’s about it. They likely won’t need a lot of extra care. However, it’s always wise to buckle up and prepare for the unexpected. Consider long-term care insurance for those times when in-home care becomes necessary. And don’t forget about short- and long-term disability insurance! It’s a smart move for anyone, because hey, anything can happen to anyone at any time. We all need a safety net. In fact, it’s music to my ears when I hear that people with MS have these financial safeguards in place.

Now let’s talk about you and your employer. If you have relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), you might only need to see your doctor once or twice a year. And on those days, you can choose to take a vacation day from work, and hey, your boss doesn’t even need to know it’s because of MS! But there are times when it’s essential to have a conversation with your human resources department. Maybe you need time off for regular treatments or you’ve been on this MS rollercoaster long enough to know when your symptoms are likely to flare up. Your job can adapt to your needs without knowing the specific details of your condition. A simple doctor’s note explaining an ongoing medical issue and the necessary time off will suffice. You’ll feel confident that you’re covered and supported.

Grow your support network! Reach out to others who are on this wild MS adventure with you. You may be at different stages in your journey, but trust me, having that support is like a secret superpower. You can learn from their experiences, both the good and the not-so-good, and laugh at the hiccups along the way. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and your own hospital are amazing resources to find that sense of community.

Oh, and guess what? I offer something called a resource meeting. It’s like a gathering of MS superheroes coming together to talk about what they need. I might be able to help right then and there, or I might need to connect with them later. But the best part is, they don’t just talk to me. They also share their stories with each other, and that’s where the real magic happens. These discussions bring forth a wealth of resources and support that will leave you feeling stronger than ever.

Remember, I’m Lisa Lundy, the multiple sclerosis clinic case manager. I’m here to assist with your financial and medical needs. Together, we’ll soar through any obstacles that come our way. Don’t be shy, reach out and let’s tackle the MS challenge with a smile!


Interact with readers:

So, my MS warriors, have you found any other creative ways to meet the financial challenges of MS? Share your insights and experiences in the comments below! Let’s build a community that supports and uplifts each other! 💪🦸‍♀️🌟