Tuesday, May 3, 2016

When A Trip To The Mailbox Feels Like Something Out of A Horror Movie

It's that time again! I had my most recent infusions of Rituxan in March, so I knew I could expect a big bill in the mail since I know the drug alone costs more than $10,000. The bill finally came last week with a "patient responsibility" amount that leaves me wondering how I'm supposed to be able to buy groceries - let alone send my kids to college. 

As always, I am extremely grateful for the Genentech Rheumatology Co-pay Card Program for Rituxan Patients, without which I would never be able to have access to this medication that is working so amazingly well for me. Recalling the discussion I had with the product manager back in December, I logged on to their website this morning to see if the improvements she told me about had actually become realities.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is now possible to create an online profile to help you manage your current co-pay card. Unfortunately, I had some trouble with the site and got kicked off by their server multiple times before I was able to manage creating my account.

After getting kicked off and re-typing my information several times, I finally managed to actually create my account and log in. Once inside my account, I experienced quite a bit of delay/freezing as I tried to navigate from topic to topic. But, while perhaps not the most intuitive organization, I was pleasantly surprised by the improvements in the quality of information provided. 

At least theoretically, it looks like patients will be able to use this online account to determine the exact amount that is loaded to their co-pay cards, allowing them to bypass the long and terrible phone tree. And under the "Using Your Card" section, I actually found an explanation for the $10 they mysteriously did not load to my card last time - turns out there's a $5 per drug co pay, which was never mentioned in any of the other previous materials I received or research I had done or by any of the many representatives I had spoken to. So I'm glad they are now upfront about that little detail. 

The thing I am most excited about is the possibility of being able to upload my Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) instead of having to download them, print them, give them to my husband so he could take them to work to fax them, and then call the co-pay assistance program to demand someone track down the "lost" faxes. Unfortunately the new system still does leave something to be desired. There isn't an obvious tab in the menu to alert patients that uploading their EOBs is even a possibility - and the "Using Your Card" page still directs patients to fax the EOBs. But if you look under the Dashboard, there is a sentence with a tiny link: "To upload your Explanation of Benefits (EOB) click here"

This takes you to a page where you can, at least theoretically, upload your EOBs. After I attached my EOBs and clicked submit, I got a tiny green sentence that said "Patient File Uploaded." But after I navigated away from that particular section there was no record of confirmation that my EOBs had been successfully received, nor did I get any sort of email confirmation. So I'm not holding my breath.

Also, though FAQs still don't mention this as a possibility, I'm guessing I'm going to have to send them a Claim 1500 Form again this time anyways - so I already called my doctor's office to request that they send it to me. And it, of course, comes via snail mail. 

So I guess this giant bill will just have to sit on my desk a while longer while I continue to try to sort everything out. Which is unfortunate, because just looking at that number makes me feel a bit ill.

No comments: