Change: the one word that I would use to describe my life at this moment. I recently stopped working, moved, and went from living with my husband and daughter to living with my parents and daughter. All this has happened because my husband joined the Army. He is now away for training and will be for several months.
Along with his job change comes an insurance change. With several changes, it is crazy to think that the lead source of my anxiety is my fear of not getting proper medical care. The Army will provide us with healthcare, however with Pulmonary Hypertension there is a lot that needs to be considered. Patients have specialty medication and specialized doctors for treatment. Many times the transition of prescriptions and prolonged wait times for approvals can delay the shipment of medications.
We have taken several steps to proactively prevent a break in therapy and insurance. I believe being proactive is the best way to keep an insurance change from negatively affecting my health. Below you will find advice on steps I recommend if you are facing an upcoming insurance change:
- Order your monthly supply of medication as close together as you can a couple months previous to the insurance change. This way you have a supply of extra medications on hand incase it takes long to get your prescriptions approved.
- Know all information about the insurance benefits you will be acquiring. Amount deducted from paycheck, maximum lifetime benefit, co-payments, and other expenses such as these because this can help you from incurring unexpected bills.
- Understand your current insurance’s policy on obtaining COBRA if necessary. COBRA is a federally mandated insurance program that gives some employees the opportunity to continue insurance coverage after the qualifying employer leaves employment. You are by law allowed a 60-day grace period to elect COBRA. You also have to pay per calendar month so be wise about the day you elect the insurance.
- Find out if your current PH specialist will accept your new insurance. If they do not, it might be necessary to find a different PH specialist that accepts your new insurance.
- Click here for more information on how to work with your insurance company. This is a great article that was recently posted on the PHA website. It could help save you many phone calls and insurance headaches.
It is a victory to be alive long enough that life changes occur. The downside is that some of these life changes lead to the hassle of dealing with insurance changes. Marriage and obtaining a new job are a few of the milestones that can help us realize how we have overcome this disease. No matter the change, from a patient’s perspective, life will always be different than it is for someone that doesn’t have a life threatening illness. At times it can be overwhelming to learn how to navigate the insurance jungle. I think the best way to cope with those frustrations is to acknowledge that this disease makes all aspects of life different and not just our physical health.
Hold fast, a cure is on the way!