Patient Services helps chronically ill patients make ends meet
Patients suffering from chronic illness are often forced to choose between basic necessities and their own health care, something a non-profit, patient assistance program is working to change.
Even though they have health insurance, nearly 10 million adults will face bills they’re unable to pay, according to a study by the price comparison company, NerdWallet. Nearly 10 million others will be unable to pay for rent, food and heat because of their medical bills.
That’s where Patient Services, Inc. comes in for patients suffering from rare or chronic diseases. PSI is a national non-profit, designed to be a short-term solution for patients who, despite being insured, can’t make ends meet.
“We make it so they don’t have to make that decision,” Mandy Herbert, director of marketing and public relations at PSI, recently told Patient Daily. “They can get the treatment they need and focus on what’s important – living their lives.”
PSI provides premium and copay assistance to those patients with rare or chronic diseases, Herbert said. To benefit from PSI, a patient must be insured and meet other eligibility requirements that vary by program. Once a patient is accepted into PSI’s program, they can focus on healing while PSI picks up the tab through various donations.
Donations come from a large pot of donors, Herbert told Patient Daily, including pharmaceutical companies, patient chapter support groups and individuals. PSI makes payments directly to the patient’s insurance company.
“There is an ever-increasing need for financial assistance with premiums and copayments,” Herbert said. “Even with financial subsidies provided through the Affordable Care Act and marketplace policies, patients with expensive rare disorders still don’t have the capital to meet the premium out-of-pocket costs that are being asked of them.”
Founded in 1989, PSI was the first nonprofit patient assistance program of its kind.
PSI President Dana Kuhn suffers from a chronic illness himself, according to his company biography, and knows first hand the expense it can create. Before founding PSI, Kuhn was a clinical counselor, working with families who had children with cancer. Herbert told Patient Daily it was during that time he realized the financial challenges families faced were just as difficult as the emotional ones.
“He thought it would be great if there were some sort of support system for these families so they wouldn’t have to worry about the financial aspects of a chronic illness,” Herbert said. “So they could only deal with the emotional challenges and give support there, and then those financial challenges would be taken care of for them – they’re focusing on family and getting well.”
PSI continues to take donations from new organizations to help families finance medical care. They are also always accepting applications from new patients, though patients must have health insurance to apply.
The open enrollment period for the country’s health insurance marketplace is already in full swing. The enrollment period lasts from November through January 31.
Organizations in this story
PSI 1120 19th Street Northwest Washington, DC 20036