Patient Assistance Programs
One of the first things I learned about having a chronic illness was that it wasn’t just going to impact my health, or take my time and my energy, but that it was going to be really, really expensive too.
It’s heartbreaking to realize that even WITH health insurance, the costs for doctors visits, labs, tests, procedures, hospitalizations, and medications adds up entirely too quick. And without insurance, it feels nearly impossible to afford the care you desperately need.
Patient assistance programs
What I learned next was one of the most important ways to support the costs of medications were patient assistance programs.
The first one I signed up for was GoodRx, and it was incredibly user friendly. Without registering, you can search their website for your current medications, and it will show you different institutions you could fill it at, and what it would cost with their discount card. On this same screen, you can find some additional drug information, information on side effects, and cost savings tips. There’s also a tab for patients covered by Medicare. If you find that any of your prescriptions cost less with the discount card that you are currently paying, you can sign up for the discount card. I appreciated that I could print a card off the website instantly, and then they mailed me a nicer one to keep in my wallet.
The other category of Patient Assistance Programs is for biologic drugs. I have personally used a few of these programs and I’d be happy to answer any questions I can or to offer you support in applying.
Entyvio – EntyvioConnect
EntyvioConnect is a patient support program, which offers resources, useful tips, and financial support. The program is of no cost to patients, and offers savings or financial assistance regardless of insurance coverage. With EntyvioConnect, you may pay as little as $5 per infusion up to a yearly maximum benefit per calendar year.
If you are new to the program and have private or commercial insurance, there are two ways that you can register.
- Online: https://www.entyvio.com/register
- Phone: 1-844-ENTYVIO (1-844-368-9846).
If you have government insurance, you may be eligible to receive financial assistance from an independent copay foundation. Call 1-844-368-9846 to learn more.
Once activated, you can use your card to save on your eligible out of pocket costs for Entyvio. More information on how the card can be used is listed on the website, and they advise that you create an online account to manage your savings program benefits.
If you don’t have insurance, you don’t qualify for the patient assistance program, or you need additional support, you can also reach out to the pharmaceutical company Takeda – they also have a patient assistance program found here.
Remicade and Stelara – Janssen Care Path
Janssen also offers a savings program for commercially insured patients, which could enable you to pay just $5 per infusion up to a yearly maximum benefit per calendar year. Depending on your insurance, this program can help with your deductible, copays and coinsurance for either Remicade or Stelara.
If you are new to the program, there are three ways that you can register.
- Online: remicade.janssencarepathsavings.com or stelara.janssencarepathsavings.com
- Phone: 877-CarePath (877-227-3728)
- Print the form here, and mail or fax it to Janssen
Once activated, you can use your card to save on your eligible out of pocket costs for Remicade or Stelara. More information on how the card can be used is listed on the website, and they advise that you create an online account to manage your savings program benefits.
If you have government insurance, there are several resources listed here.
If you don’t have insurance, you don’t qualify for the patient assistance program, or you need additional support, you can also reach out to the pharmaceutical company Janssen, and you can find more information here.
Humira – Humira Complete
Similar to the medications above, Humira Complete also offers eligible patients the Humira Complete Savings Card, which could help you get Humira for as little as $5 a month.
If you are new to the program, there are two ways that you can register.
- Online: https://www.humira.com/humira-complete/sign-up/savings-card
- Phone: 1-800-4HUMIRA (1-800-448-6472)
Once activated, you can use your card to save on your eligible out of pocket costs for Humira. More information on how the card can be used is listed on the website, and they advise that you create an online account to manage your savings program benefits.
If you have government insurance, you may be eligible for a low-income subsidy or may qualify for financial help from the AbbVie Patient Assistance Foundation or an independent foundation. Call 1-800-448-6472 for assistance.
If you don’t have insurance, you don’t qualify for the patient assistance program, or you need additional support, you can also reach out to the pharmaceutical company AbbVie – they also have a patient assistance foundation found here.
Enbrel – Enbrel Co-Pay Card
If you have commercial or private insurance, you are eligible for the Enbrel Co-Pay Card. With Medicare or Medicaid, the Enbrel team can help you review your insurance benefits, determine your co-pay costs, answer your questions, and help connect you with organizations that might be able to help with out of pocket costs.
To learn more, ask questions, or sign up, you can call 1-888-4ENBREL (1-888-436-2735).
The Enbrel website also indicates that if you have insurance coverage, but your plan doesn’t provide enough coverage for you, their insurance specialists might be able to find additional payment assistance programs for you.
And, if you are without insurance, you may be able to get Enbrel at no cost through the Safety Net Foundation.
CIMZIA – CIMplicity Savings Program
The CIMplicity Savings Program allows eligible patients to save on the cost of CIMZIA throughout treatment. For this program, there is no income requirements, no dollar limit per use, and covers up to a certain dollar amount per calendar year.
If you self-inject Cimzia with the prefilled syringe, you can learn more about getting assistance for your Cimzia out of pocket expenses in one of three ways:
- Online by signing up for CIMplicity: https://www.cimzia.com/join-cimplicity
- Directly from your doctor
- By calling 1-866-4-CIMZIA (1-866-424-6942, option 2)
If you receive CIMZIA from a healthcare professional, you must request to join the co-pay program from your healthcare professional, and a member of the staff will help you manage your benefits.
Finally, if you are uninsured, or on government insurance, there might be other resources available for your benefit. Call 1-866-395-8366 for more information. You can also reach out to the pharmaceutical company UCB – they also have a patient assistance foundation, and you can find more information here. The CIMplicity Support Program also offers patients access to nurse support, syringe disposal and medication reminders if you are interested in exploring other features.
This is a reminder that help is available
Above I highlighted some of the benefits offered for the more popular biologics used to manage Inflammatory Bowel Disease, but I know there are other patient assistance programs available. Most of the medications prescribed by gastroenterologists do have some type of financial assistance available to patients, regardless of if you have insurance or what type of insurance you have. Many doctors offices have staff that can help you identify options based on your particular situation, and I always recommend reaching out to your doctor, your nurse, your PA, or even the administrator in your doctor’s office. Additionally, specific medication websites often have links to more information. Unfortunately, IBD patients know all too well that health care and maintaining a basic quality of life can be quite costly. But I feel like it’s important to remind you that doesn’t mean that there isn’t help available once you find the drug that works for you!