TwinCities – February 2017: Paying for Myeloma

February 11th:  It was a good turnout with quite a few new or returning members to the group.  Welcome!   We hope you liked what heard and the support you felt in the group and look forward to seeing you at future meetings!
Kevin and Leo filled in for Fred and Gerry who were taking well earned breaks from their leadership duties.  While on vacation Fred visited two Arizona MM support groups.  He plans on sharing his observations of the groups during our March meeting.

We were joined by  two speakers:

Laura Rich:  Senior Clinical Pharmacist with Thrifty White Pharmacy spoke about drug financial assistance programs
  • she had handouts on various programs available in the past, All handouts are in the library now
  • most programs would pay a significant portion of drug copay cost if less than income limit typically 500% of poverty level by state ($81K for 2 person household, $60K for 1)
  • you can work directly with the foundations but it is highly recommended to work with a Specialty Pharmacist like her as the forms are complex, requirements vary and need monitored follow-up
  • not many programs are currently funded, only LLS was open now.
  • some discussion around why, theory was due to ramifications of financial audits last year but just talk, not fact.
  • she is monitoring programs regularly to keep up with changes.
Pat Harwood: Co-founder and retired Twincities support group leader and 20+ year survivor on Financial Assistance for Premium Co-pays
  • Pat had great recommendations on how and when to fill in forms and to make it easy to resend in forms quarterly as most only pay 3 months and AFTER you pay (you need receipt to send in)
  • Pat also talked about her background, experiences and advice on handling myeloma
Other topics that came up during group discussion included what Medicare part B vs D covers (e.g. immunizations and pills are D, IVs are B), therapies for muscle cramps (two attendees reported success with magnesium threonate).

 – Kevin Veenstra

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