Yesterday, I opened my mail to find this treasure: the
bill from my first
The actual chemotherapy medication I received is
listed as costing $10,237.40. There are also $628.15 in various materials and
administration fees. Luckily (hahahahah!) I'm only responsible for
Let's all just cry a little bit over that number.
That's completely insane.
Ok. Moving on.
The good news is that the Rituxan Co-Pay Card Program
will help me cover the cost of the medication itself, which is $5,610.26 after
my insurance company's generous contribution. Once you request the Rituxan
Co-Pay Card, get it in the mail, and register it, all you have to do is submit
a copy of a detailed Explanation of Benefits to the program and they will cover
up to $10,000 a year in medication costs. (Don't ask me what happens if I end
up needing more medication than that. I can't bear to think about it yet.)
"I'm a Rituxan patient" I click.
"How It Works" I click.
Once you enroll and register your card, just give it
to your doctor’s staff when you get your Rituxan treatment. You or your
doctor's office will have to send copies of your detailed Explanation of
Benefits (EOB) from your health plan so you can use the card.
Right. Ok. Do I mail them? Fax them? What address?
What fax number? Nothing on the "How It Works" page explains that, so
I click "FAQs"
Will I be asked for other information throughout the
Yes. You will be asked to send copies of detailed Explanation of Benefits (EOB)
statements. This information is required to fund the card.
But you don't think the FAQs are an apporpirate spot
to tell me where to send/fax them?!?! Finally, after searching around
through all the menus, I find a box in the side bar that has a phone number and
a fax number. But it doesn't specify if that is the number where you are
supposed to fax the EOBs, or even if you are supposed to fax the EOBs.
So, instead of blindly faxing my medical information into the void, I decide to
call the number and ask
Welcome to the Rituxan CoPay Card Program. We provide
fast and convenient co pay support to eligible patients.
Press 2 if you are a Rituxan patient.
Ok, I’ll press 2.
From this menu you can request a card and register it.
Umm…are those the only options? I already have a card
and it is already registered. How do I speak to a human to get my question
answered? I press 0, trying to get to a person but I end up in an endless loop
where the recording just keeps telling me my answer is invalid. I finally give
up, hang up, and call back to start over. Somehow I finally manage to get the
recording to say:
If you would like to speak to a representative, please
answer a few questions first.
Um, ok. Then, no joke, it asked me all the following
questions before it let me speak to a human. And, keep in mind, after I answer
each of these questions the recording also repeated my answer and made me press
1 to confirm my answer.
Please enter the member ID number on your card.
Please enter the last 4 digits on the card.
Has your doctor prescribed Rituxan for one of the
following conditions: press (1) for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Do you have a commercial health plan?
Are you at least 18 years of age?
Are your prescriptions covered in whole or in part by
any state or federally funded programs, such as Medicare, Medicare Advantage,
Medigap, Medicare Part D, Medicaid, Managed Medicaid, TRICARE or Puerto Rico
Government Health Insurance Plan.
Do you get free medication from the Genetech
Do you live in a state where copay assistance is
prohibited by law?
Please enter your doctor’s 10 digit phone number
starting with the area code.
Please enter your 10 digit phone number.
Please say and spell your first and last name.
Please say and spell your mailing address.
Press 1 if you are a female.
Please enter your date of birth.
Please say the name of your health insurance company.
Please say the type of health insurance plan you have.
Please say the group number.
Please say the member number.
We need your social security number.
Twelve minutes and 48 seconds into the call (my second
call, mind you) the recording finally starts talking about how I will be
required to provide a detailed Explanation of Benefits. All right! Now we’re
talking! Unfortunately, this is apparently also not the appropriate place to
tell you how to actually do so. The recording goes right on rambling. I
finally get frustrated and press 0 again.
Your call is being transferred….All representatives
are currently busy. Please hold.
At least fifteen minutes in to my second call I finally get a human. The
first thing I do is ask if there is a magic way to get to a human instead of
talking to a recording for 15 minutes. Apparently, you can get to a human if you
press 0 but only
if you press 0 before answering the question about what kind of patient you
are. So since I pressed 2 to say I was a Rituxan patient before pressing 0,
it put me into an endless recording loop hell. Ok great. So now I know the
secret. I ask for the fax number. She gives it to me. I thank her and finally
It is only then that I notice that the fax number she
gave me is different than the one on the website. So I call back and use the
magic secret 0 to get to a human. I ask the new representative to confirm the
fax number. He asks what kind of patient I am and then confirms the number that
the previous representative gave me. He says the one on the website is a
generic fax number, which I suppose probably means that if you send your EOBs
to that number they will get “lost," making you ineligible to receive co
So, I ask, can you tell me where the correct fax
number can be found on your website?
The agent goes quiet for a while. Sounds like he is
clicking around on the web site himself. Finally he says he guesses it isn’t
actually on the website anywhere. He says he never noticed that before.
So, I ask, is the only way to get the appropriate fax
number to call? And either sit through the recording questions or know that you
can press 0 before answering any questions?
He confirms that is true. Fast and convenient co pay
support indeed!! Especially since it isn't 1980 anymore
and I don't have a fax machine - so now that I have the number finding a
fax machine is just another hurdle.
And, P.S., all of this was accomplished while paying for childcare for OZL and during CZL's nap, which is the time I am supposed to be using to get my work done so we can pay said medical bills.
To be fair, the representative I talked to did
apologize to me and promise to “bring it up,” though he didn’t say where he would
be providing that feedback. And, as a call operator, I seriously doubt that
feedback is going to make it anywhere. But I guess that is better than nothing.
If you are a Rituxan patient and need to fax your EOBs
before you can use your co-pay card, let me save you several hours of your
life: the number is 888-332-9864.
Don’t get me wrong – I am really grateful that copay
support exists. I certainly would not have been able to try Rituxan without it,
and so far I am captiously optimistic that this mediation is going to help me
get my life back. But you have to admit that this seems like a ridiculous number
of hoops to make someone jump through and still claim to be “helping” them.