Treating cancer is not just a physical and emotional challenge; it’s often a heavy financial burden, too.
For prostate cancer patients enrolled in Medicare Part D, a government program that helps people pay for prescription drugs, the costs can vary widely.
This makes it hard for patients, especially those with limited resources, to afford their medication.
However, researchers have found that an online tool could make a world of difference for these patients.
How It Works: A Simple Tool for Big Savings
Researchers from the University of Michigan Health Rogel Cancer Center have discovered that the Medicare Part D Plan Finder, an online tool funded by the government, can help patients find the most affordable prescription drug plans in their area.
The tool is super easy to use. You just have to visit a website, enter your zip code and the drugs you need, and the tool will show you the estimated costs for various plans in your local area.
The study looked at two common drugs for advanced prostate cancer: abiraterone and enzalutamide.
Researchers used this tool to compare the costs of these drugs in 12 different regions in the U.S. that have prominent prostate cancer programs. They found that the savings could be huge!
For abiraterone, the out-of-pocket costs ranged from $1,379 to $13,274 depending on the plan.
But the tool showed that, on average, patients could save up to $9,321 a year by choosing the most affordable plan. For enzalutamide, the potential annual savings were around $1,839.
Time to Act: Open Enrollment and Next Steps
Medicare has an annual open enrollment period from October 15 to December 7, when people can switch their plans. This is the perfect time to use the plan finder tool to look for a more affordable option.
Even though more than 49 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare Part D and they can choose from up to 50 different plans, less than 30% actually compare prices.
The lead author of the study, Benjamin Pockros, says, “Patients with Medicare Part D have dozens of different drug plans available to choose from, but most patients unfortunately are not aware of this.
If they compare estimated costs, they could save thousands of dollars each year in drug costs.”
Conclusion: A Small Step for Big Changes
In a world where treating cancer can empty your pockets, this tool can be a real lifesaver. It’s a simple, easy-to-use way to compare costs and potentially save thousands of dollars on life-saving medication.
And while it may seem like a small thing, when you’re fighting for your life, every little bit helps.
If you care about prostate cancer, please read studies about 5 types of bacteria linked to aggressive prostate cancer, and new strategy to treat advanced prostate cancer.
For more information about prostate cancer, please see recent studies about new way to lower risk of prostate cancer spread, and results showing three-drug combo boosts survival in metastatic prostate cancer.
The study was published in Urology Practice.
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