Talking About the Cost of Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Talking to your doctor about how to handle the cost of treating rheumatoid arthritis is an important conversation that you should prepare for ahead of time. Managing these costs is a challenge, but one your doctor can help you with. These three steps will help you get the most out of your conversation with your doctor:
Know the stage of your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
The stage of your symptoms is an important factor in deciding which rheumatoid arthritis treatment is right for you. If you have been recently diagnosed, your treatment options may differ from those of someone who has lived with RA for many years. Therefore, it's crucial to first determine the status of your RA symptoms by talking with your doctor.
In addition, it's important to talk with your doctor about your physical comfort level. Does your rheumatoid arthritis joint pain and stiffness limit your daily activity? Are there certain activities you'd like to work towards doing again? Addressing these questions will help you and your doctor understand the development of your symptoms, and your goals in RA treatment.
Know your rheumatoid arthritis treatment options
Rheumatoid arthritis treatments range from over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to more costly medications. That's why the more you know about your treatment options the better you can decide how to manage the costs of rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to tell your doctor how long you have received treatment for RA and what medicines you have taken in the past.
Also, let your doctor know how satisfied you feel with the RA medicines you are taking or have taken previously. If your doctor gives you multiple treatment options, be sure to ask how much each will cost you, and which may be covered (partially or entirely) by health insurance or financial assistance.
Know your health insurance coverage
Once you have researched your RA symptoms and treatment options, it's time to make sure you know about rheumatoid arthritis insurance coverage. Your doctor should have some general information about health insurance coverage for certain RA medicines. However, because insurance companies function independently of physicians, it is important to check your own specific coverage and the formulary for your specific plan.
In addition, be sure to ask your doctor for advice on foundations or organizations that provide financial assistance for RA medications, and ask if there is a patient assistance program (PAP) available from the drug manufacturer for the medicine you will be taking. You might be surprised to find out what assistance you qualify for. Our overview of PAPs and introduction to Medicare and Medicaid will help you understand how to apply for these types of coverage.
Formularies are the lists of specific drugs covered by a government or private insurance plan. Certain rheumatoid arthritis drugs might have to be preauthorized before you can receive coverage. Finding out the formularies for your health plan can factor into your rheumatoid arthritis treatment decision. Also, make sure to double-check coverage often, as formularies can change.