I've got this song stuck in my head with the lyrics "Money, money, money, money, MONEY!" I can only remember one line of it, and since, let's face it, they lyrics aren't exactly uncommon, I have NO idea what song it is. It's annoying to have a song running through your head that you can't figure out. Oh well, I imagine it will occur to me at the oddest of times.
On the subject of money, last night, I got home to find a brochure in the mail from the hepatology department at UCLA with very helpful tips for starting my treatment. The section that stuck out the most was the bit about finances.
Turns out that the market price for pegylated interferon and ribavarin (the standard treatment) are about $1700 and $1400 respectively ... a month. They very dutifully warn me that some insurance companies don't cover the medications and that others have a huge co-pay and that I should get my financial house in order if I'm planning on paying for the meds myself. I pull out my calculator, press a bunch of buttons, and find out that if my insurance doesn't cover the meds, the course of the treatment will run about $28,000 (assuming 9 months of treatment). Oh. My. Frickin. G-d.
I must admit I panicked for a bit, and I went online to find out my pharmacy coverage. Of course, that part of Healthnet's website was down for maintenance (that's how I roll). I went to bed, only to be completely awake 3 hours later obsessing over the whole thing. I didn't get back to sleep 'til about 4:30.
I got up about 6:45, and went back online to check my coverage. Turns out self-injectibles (as pegylated interferon is classified as ... I hope) are covered, but I need to pay 20% of the price. The ribavarin is an oral medication, so my $30 a month co-pay should cover that one. Which brings the cost for me from a maximum of $3,100 a month to $370 a month. MUCH more doable. Still difficult, but doable. Especially since I don't have the monthly budget to pay for it every month, and will have to rely on savings. Fortunately, I also received my tax returns this morning in my checking account, so I have a couple of thousand dollars to devote to this. The tax return doesn't cover everything, but it will cover a great deal of it. Okay, now I'm breathing easier.
I'm going to have to do some fancy footwork toward the end of the year, but in the meantime, I'm going to get through it all. Oh yes, I am!! Brief panic aside, I'm incredibly grateful that I have resources to deal with all of this.
I have calls into UCLA to figure out where I go from here, get the pre-authorization stuff rolling and find out when I'm actually going to start getting the meds. It all should start in the next couple of weeks. I'm starting to get a little antsy about getting it started, so I'll be closer to getting it ended and back to my old self!