Finding resources and support to manage your IBD care
Published: May 15, 2023
Care for Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can be expensive. If it affects you or someone you love, you already know just how expensive it can be. A 2019 study showed that annual healthcare costs for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) averaged $22,987. That’s more than three times the costs for people who don’t have IBD. And out-of-pocket expenses for people with IBD are double what people without it pay.
Adequate health insurance is a must. But it can be difficult to find an affordable plan. And it can be just as tough to understand your policy’s terms so you can get the medications you need at a price you can pay. Plus, health insurance providers periodically change their terms of coverage. That can make it extra challenging to follow your prescribed treatment plan.
Drug-specific savings coupons, prescription savings cards, and more
Let’s look at some common types of financial support available to people with IBD. Keep in mind that eligibility guidelines vary from program to program.
- Drug-specific prescription savings cards and coupons. These discounts are available from many drug manufacturers. They can bring your medication costs down significantly—sometimes to $0.
- General prescription savings cards. These free cards can provide a discount on various prescription drugs.
- Continuity of care support. These programs financially support people with IBD who are temporarily without insurance coverage.
- Medical supply assistance programs. These programs provide free or low-cost medical supplies, including ostomy supplies.
- Funds to cover copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and other medical needs that insurance doesn’t pay for.
Resources to help with IBD costs
The stress of managing IBD can feel overwhelming. But the good news is you are not alone. Many companies and organizations provide resources to people with IBD. These resources include:
- Financial help to pay for specific IBD medications, treatments, services, and medical supplies.
- Help covering copays and other out-of-pocket expenses.
- Help navigating insurance eligibility and enrollment.
- Lodging assistance for patients who travel for IBD care.
- Scholarships to summer camp for kids with IBD.
Many companies offer financial assistance as part of a more holistic support program. One is example is Amgen which offers the AMJEVITA SupportPlus program. Janssen has Janssen Care Path for private or commercially-insured patients and Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc for non-insured or non-commercially insured patients. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation offers an online tool that can connect you with a wide range of patient financial assistance programs.
Understanding your options
Managing the Cost of IBD means understanding your health insurance options. It also means knowing what to do if your insurance plan has denied coverage. Our website offers resources to help including federal laws that ensure your rights as an employee if you have a chronic condition such as IBD.
You can also learn how copay accumulator programs affect how drug copay cards work. Traditionally, with a copay card, the money the drug manufacturer paid for your drugs counted toward your deductible or out-of-pocket contribution. This practice meant you could quickly reach your deductible limits with minimal cost to you.
But a new trend has health plan providers participating in copay accumulator or maximizer programs. With these programs, the drug manufacturer’s payment isn’t applied to your deductible or out-of-pocket maximum. You can still use the copay card, but when the value runs out, you pay full price until you meet your deductible or out-of-pocket costs. And those prices can hit your bank account hard. Consult your insurance company and/or employer to see if you are enrolled in a copay accumulator or maximizer program.
Learning as much as you can about insurance coverage, financial programs, and support resources can help you feel more in control as you manage IBD. It also enables you to stay on track with your treatment and find new ways to navigate challenges related to your care.
If you have questions about financial resources or other support available to you, visit our IBD Help Center where we can help you find specific resources, refer you to other organizations, and help you understand your health insurance coverage. Knowledge is power when it comes to your healthcare.
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