Saving money on migraine treatments
If you’ve been following us for very long, you likely hear advice like this:
- Use abortive, preventive, and rescue medicines.
- Try acupuncture, chiropractic, etc.
- See a headache specialist.
- Stock up on ice packs.
- Build a toolkit.
- Try Botox.
Wow. That gets expensive.
I came to a point of acceptance long ago that Migraine was going to cost me one way or the other. If I didn’t treat it, I would pay in lost wages and terrible quality of life. If I did treat it, I could easily end up working just to pay for the medical care to keep me working. For the past 2 years I have juggled funds, pinched pennies, and clipped coupons in order to pay for insurance and treatment without the benefit of a full-time job. The early years on disability can be tough until Medicare kicks in. Much to my relief, that precious red, white, and blue card finally arrived with instructions on “Open Enrollment”. I spent way too many years broke, out of work, without insurance, and getting lots of migraine attacks. Hopefully I learned a thing or two that might help you.
Patient Assistance Programs are usually managed by the pharmaceutical company that manufactures the drug. Each program varies. Some have income requirements. Still others accept patients without insurance for one program and insured patients for another program. Here are just a few of the clearinghouses you can check to find out which of your prescriptions might be eligible. Be prepared to complete application form for every company. You will also need to have the application forms signed by the prescribing physician. Some programs will ship the medications directly to you while others ship only to the physician’s office. In those cases, you will be called when the medications arrive so you can pick them up. Most of these programs require reapplication every year. Here are just a few you can check out:
Medicare Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs
Center for Benefits, National Council on Aging
Drug Discount Programs generally don’t require preauthorization from your doctor or insurance provider. These programs are perfect for patients who have expensive medications not covered by their insurance plan or those with very high co-pays and/or deductibles. In rare cases a medication will not have a Prescription Assistance Program for uninsured patients. A drug discount card is a nice option if nothing else is available. Even if you have insurance, you may be eligible to use a discount card in certain circumstances. Always ask your pharmacist for assistance. Many pharmacies also offer discounted prices on certain medications. Check these out for starters:
Drugs.com discount card
PPARx Savings Cards
NACo Prescription Discount Card Program
Uninsured patient discounts
Many times doctors and clinics have pre-established discounts for patients who pay cash. Given the overhead required to accept insurance reimbursement, some physicians have chosen to abandon this model and work directly with patients on a cash basis only. You never know if you don’t ask. It’s best to call ahead or schedule an appointment with someone in Patient Accounts. You can discuss the financial issues ahead of time so you and the doctor can focus on health issues when you meet.
Free or reduced-fee health care is often available to the uninsured with limited incomes through local health departments or community health care agencies. The available services are likely very limited. At the very least, you can often get preventive care services and basic health care services. Headache specialists may not be available this way, though. However, if you are able to save money on all of your other health care needs, then maybe you can put more of your available dollars to work on migraine treatment. Another way to accomplish this is to utilize student-provided health care services through dental schools or free/reduced fee mental health agencies.
There are many ways to afford good Migraine treatment. How have you been creative in getting the care you need? What tricks or tips have you learned?