Migraine CareLine: Free Resource for Financial, Insurance, and Disability Assistance
Would you like to know which financial assistance programs are available to help you pay for treatment?
The Patient Advocate Foundation’s Migraine CareLine can help you sort out all those questions and more. And it’s at no cost to you. I interviewed Erin Bradshaw, the Patient Advocate Foundation’s Chief of Mission Delivery, about the Migraine CareLine and other resources the organization offers.
What is the Migraine CareLine?
The Migraine CareLine provides patients with migraine, cluster headache, and other headache disorders with one-on-one case management to navigate the challenges of access to treatment and health resources. Whether you have insurance or not, the Migraine CareLine helps with the practical financial challenges of affording health care.
“Our whole goal is to understand the individual's unique situation. So what kind of insurance do they have? What are their financial backgrounds? What are the challenges that they're facing? That helps us because we're not about giving you a bunch of phone numbers to go on your way. We're trying to figure out you as an individual,” Bradshaw said, so they can best meet your needs.
What do they help patients with?
The Migraine CareLine can help you with any financial challenge you have that’s preventing your access to health care—whether you have no insurance or your insurance provider is denying care, they can help you with resources to access the care you need. They also assist people with disability eligibility and enrollment.
“We really cover a pretty large gamut of what someone might face when they're diagnosed with a critical or chronic diagnosis,” Bradshaw said, so they can help with many different problems, even ones not specifically mentioned in this article.
Can they help with access to CGRP medications and other prescribed treatment?
“Yeah, absolutely. As long as the doctor’s prescribed it, we can help,” Bradshaw said.
Who staffs the Migraine CareLine?
The Migraine CareLine is staffed by Patient Advocate Foundation employees (not volunteers) who have a wide variety of backgrounds. Patients are paired with caseworkers who are particularly skilled in the area the person needs assistance with. Some case managers have worked in insurance companies, so they have inside knowledge of how the system works. Others have worked in doctor’s offices and know the ins and outs of prior authorizations. The majority have worked in social services, so they’re familiar with Medicaid, social security, and disability applications. Still, others were patients or caregivers who experienced barriers to treatment that ignited a passion for helping others get access to the treatments they need.
The Patient Advocate Foundation is not a migraine-specific organization—they provide assistance to people with any illness or disease—but they do extensive training in the different illness areas, so your caseworker will be knowledgeable about migraine.
How do you contact them?
You can either call the Migraine CareLine at (866) 688-3625 or complete an online submission form and you will receive a call within 48 hours. The person you speak with will ask questions about your situation to find the caseworker who can best help you resolve the problem you’re facing.
What’s a realistic expectation for how they can help?
The Migraine CareLine will do everything they can to help you. Sometimes there are limitations they can’t work around—like your current health plan absolutely will not cover a specific medication. If that’s the case, they’ll see if you qualify for a patient assistance program to cover the medication.
They’ll also help you figure out what to take into account with your next health insurance plan so that the medication will be covered. Even if they can’t help you immediately, they’ll see what they can do to help you down the line.
Patient Advocate Foundation’s educational resources
In addition to one-on-one case management, the Patient Advocate Foundation’s website also has extensive resources to learn more about insurance coverage and how to navigate barriers to health care access, including sample insurance appeal letters. This section, called Migraine Matters, is an excellent resource whether you’re the do-it-yourself type or just want to learn more before working with a caseworker.
When it comes to planning vacations or other events where travel is required, how much does migraine factor into your decision-making?