One of the challenges of having a chronic illness such as epilepsy is that the cost of treatment can be prohibitive. From diagnostic costs to medications and the routine visits required to make sure you’re following the correct medication protocol, costs add up quickly. For some people, this can mean delaying diagnosis and treatment. For others, it may mean stopping successful treatment because of the cost. What makes it even more difficult is not knowing how much a treatment should cost. Patients do not know whether the costs they receive are reasonable.
In a 2015 research, Begley and Durgin examined the costs of treating epilepsy. They looked at papers dating back to 1995 to determine the costs of treating the general epilepsy population and subpopulations, and then converted those costs into 2013 US dollars. What they found was that for general epilepsy populations, epilepsy-specific costs ranged from $1,022 up to $19,749 per year. More recent studies show a range of $8,412 to $11,354. Patients with uncontrolled or refractory epilepsy have higher costs than other subpopulations. This also applies to patients with comorbidities.
When you look at those ranges, you may wonder what the variability is. Part of it has to do with the diagnosis. If you are a new patient with epilepsy, the first year costs include imaging, such as MRI or CAT scans, which can be very expensive. You may also have opted for insurance with a high deductible, which will affect out-of-pocket costs. Patients who undergo surgery will generally experience higher annual costs in the year of that surgery than patients who follow a medication regimen alone.
What do these costs mean for you as a patient? We work with your insurance to ensure that your treatment is reimbursed. Our office staff understand the pre-approval process and work with insurers to ensure you are covered. We also provide the documentation some patients need to access other forms of health care coverage that may be related to disabilities caused by epilepsy.
We wish we could tell you that we could just waive the cost of treatment, but we can’t do that and stay in business. However, we understand that the direct and indirect costs of epilepsy can be overwhelming. If you have financial concerns about access to treatment, talk to our office staff about treatment payment options. We may be able to help you find a solution so that you can access affordable, reliable care.