I need to delay my previously scheduled post so I can reach those of you that may be interested in applying for myeloma related financial assistance in 2013. Make this common mistake in January and it could cost you a thousand dollars or more!
I had hoped my fourth book, Financial Aid for Myeloma Patients and Caregivers, would have been published by now. But there have been formatting and production delays. My publisher, Mira Publishing in St. Louis, promises me I will have a hundred or so promo copies available by January 10th. But that could be too late for those of you that are going to apply for co-pay relief from the LLS or a half dozen similar funding sources.
So consider this a “freebie” or sneak preview of how my book can help most of you save a lot of money!
I just returned from a meeting with my financial contact at Florida Cancer Specialists in Brooksville, Florida. The company is a fast growing group of small, local oncology offices. Instead of waiting for them to call me in after the first of the year, I figured I would be proactive and get-in before things got too busy.
My cantact, Shawna, was pleasantly surprised I would do this. In the past, I would be rushed-in and asked for my credit card number to cover co-pays. I would them submit those charges to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Co-Pay Assistance Program for reimbursement.
This time, Shawna helped me by setting the program up in the system as secondary insurance. That way I will only be billed for any diagnostics not covered by the LLS until I reach my out-of-pocket max of $1,500.
Note the “diagnostics not covered by the LLS” part. For those of you with co-pays, keep in mind that none of the myeloma aid foundations I researched reimburse us for diagnostics co-pays. This applies to those of you on Medicare, too.
So whatever you do, put-off as many diagnostic procedures (X-ray bone surveys, MRIs, PET scans, even SPEP tests if possible) until after you reach your out-of-pocket max. For most of us on Velcade, Revlimid or other expensive novel therapy agents, this should only result in a delay of a month or two. For me, the process should take less than a month!
Shawna broke things down for me. As hard as it is to comprehend, one Velcade infusion, along with supportive testing and care, is billed at $3,800. That’s a week! $3,800 X 20% (my co-pay until I reach $1,500) is $760. I will have reached my max in two weeks!
But not understanding this, two years ago I learned an expensive lesson. I headed-off to Moffitt Cancer Center for a battery of diagnostic tests in January–tests that the LLS wouldn’t reimburse.
Keeping a close eye on scheduling since then, I was able to “save”–by being reimbursed more for treatment first–a not inconsequential $910, simply by delaying some of those tests until February. Happy New Year!
This example may not specifically apply in your case. But thanks to my helpful contributor, fellow myeloma patient Richard Blustein, I include dozens more specific examples like this one in my book. A list of contacts (last count I believe I was up to 46) that all discount services or give away free stuff is one thing. But a road map that specifically helps you use them best if what my new book is all about.
So please, please be careful around the start of the new year! And for you Medicare patients, next year I include tips on how to identify supplemental policies that are myeloma friendly.
As promised, tomorrow I will try to quantify how long adding new, experimental myeloma drugs into our long term therapy plans might help keep us breathing. The numbers may surprise you!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat