I work for a small business and last year, the company changed its health care insurance plan. I take Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) to treat my relapsing MS, and as a result of the insurance change, my monthly Rebif co-pay went up significantly. In fact, my co-pay was now three times higher than it was in the past!
I'm so grateful that my company offers insurance and that I'm part of a good program. So, when the insurance change happened, I thought, "I'm so lucky to even have insurance, I'm just going to have to find a way to make this work."
My company suggested that I call the insurance company to see if they had any kind of financial assistance program that would help. But the insurance company told me there really was nothing they could do for me. So I began paying my high co-pay and paid it for a few months.
Then, I attended a local patient program sponsored by MS LifeLines® and learned about the MS LifeLines Access Made Simple program. I decided I would call MS LifeLines to learn more. I didn't know what to expect when I first called, but I was sure it was going to be a long conversation, followed by lots of paperwork to fill out.
I was pleasantly surprised. The name "Access Made Simple" is absolutely appropriate because, basically, the Financial Support representative took down some of my insurance information and asked a few simple questions. It was a five- or ten-minute phone call. I remember saying to her at the end of the phone call, "Is this it? Are you going to send anything?" She told me, "I will call you back within a few days to let you know if you qualify for assistance."
She did call me back a few days later and said, "Okay. We're done!" She explained how MS LifeLines Access Made Simple would work for me. As a result of this program, I received help affording Rebif, with more assistance than I anticipated.
I was so grateful for the financial assistance I received that made affording Rebif easier for me. But I have to be honest. I felt a little funny receiving assistance from the MS LifeLines Access Made Simple program. I had a job, I had insurance. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't taking this benefit away from someone who didn't have these things. But the Financial Support representative told me that MS LifeLines offers a number of affordable access programs available to help all kinds of people, as long as they are a U.S. citizen with a relapsing MS diagnosis and prescribed Rebif. So whether someone is uninsured, underinsured or someone like me—insured and employed but with a high co-pay—MS LifeLines is committed to making sure cost is not a barrier to affording Rebif.
So now I let anyone who has relapsing MS know that when we have a resource like MS LifeLines Access Made Simple program, there is really no reason we shouldn’t at least call them and learn what options might exist. I know my expectations were vastly exceeded.
Learn more about MS LifeLines Access Made Simple eligibility requirements.
This story reflects the personal experience of one person. Results and experiences vary from patient to patient. It is best to contact your doctor to discuss what's best for you. Rod is an MS LifeLines Ambassador, and he has chosen to share his story with other people living with MS. MS LifeLines Ambassadors are sponsored by EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc.
MS LifeLines is here to help
The MS LifeLines Financial Support Team members are passionate about helping you find affordable access for Rebif. They are trained to understand the various insurance and assistance plans to make the process as easy as possible. MS LifeLines cannot guarantee that you will receive insurance coverage or reimbursement for your therapy but will conduct a thorough review of your individual situation to determine available assistance programs or refer you to an appropriate state or federal program.
To find out if you qualify for MS LifeLines Access Made Simple or other MS LifeLines assistance programs, call MS LifeLines at 1-877-447-3243 Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 8 PM ET and Saturdays from 9 AM to 5 PM ET.