Located on the Southside near the Brandermill business park,
close to 70 dedicated staff at a national non-profit organization called
Patient Services, Inc. (PSI), work tirelessly to help individuals and families
battling a chronic illness. It is likely
that you would not be familiar with PSI unless you or a family member have
struggled to afford treatment for an expensive chronic illness. Since 1989, PSI has helped chronically ill
patients with unaffordable medical expenses.
For individuals and families living with cancer, a bleeding
disorder, respiratory disorder or autoimmune disorder, affording treatment can
be one of their biggest obstacles.
Expensive health insurance premiums and copayments often prevent a
person from accessing life-saving treatment.
‘How expensive?’ you might ask.
Picture this! In addition to paying for your mortgage, utility bill, car
payment, gas, groceries, and other common bills, could you also afford to pay a
monthly prescription totaling over $1,200?
Based on the chart below, for a person who makes close to $57,000 a year
($4,750/month), 26 percent of their income goes towards their life-saving
prescription. This added expense quickly
and steadily results in unwavering debt.
Choosing between paying for one’s life-saving drug or
feeding and housing your family should not be a decision that anyone must
make. People do not choose to become sick,
it is out of their control. PSI exists
to help chronically ill patients afford treatment through health insurance
premium and copayment assistance. Through
services provided by PSI, individuals and families can maintain quality of life
without worry of becoming bankrupt.
Until recently, PSI has never had challenges helping those
in need. For the first time in almost 30
years, charities like PSI are being blamed for the high cost of drugs used to
treat a chronic illness and are also being turned away by insurance
companies. Charities like PSI do not diagnose
patients, prescribe drugs, or control how a person chooses to be insured. Services provided solely help a person afford
their health insurance premium or copayment.
If a chronically ill patient cannot afford their health insurance
premium payment, they will not be able to afford treatment (i.e. their
prescribed drug). If deemed eligible for
financial assistance during PSI’s application process, PSI will send premium
payments directly to the patient’s insurance company on their behalf. Since this payment is not made directly by
the patient (via a personal check, debit card, auto withdraw, etc.), the
insurance companies feel the need to decline payments from charities. Why?
The insurance industry supports a Center for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) rule* allowing health insurance companies to refuse premium and
copayment assistance provided by charities on behalf of vulnerable and sick
Americans. This cannot be allowed to
happen; lives are at risk.
If you or a family member were diagnosed with a chronic
illness, would you find comfort knowing that you could turn to a charity like
PSI in a time of financial need? If your
answer is yes, please consider contacting your Representative’s office at
1-202-224-3121 to help preserve the services provided by charities. Tell them to reverse the Center for Medicare
and Medicaid Services decision that excludes charities from giving premium and
copayment assistance to patients.
As your local non-profit patient assistance program, PSI is
here to lend a helping hand when it’s most needed. To learn more about Patient Services, Inc.
*Interim final rule - US Government Publishing Office. (2014, March 19). Retrieved from gpo.gov: