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Chronic Care Management Fund Aids Underinsured Patients

HealthWell will cover health insurance copays and premiums for underinsured Medicare patients in need of chronic care management.

Chronic care fund helps underinisured

Source: Thinkstock

By Jesse Migneault

- The HealthWell Foundation has launched the Movement Disorders Fund to provide financial support for those patients unable to pay insurance premiums or copays for necessary chronic care management. The fund is available to qualifying Medicare members with annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the poverty level. 

The fund will provide up to $10,000 in copay and premium assistance to patients with health insurance that leaves an out-of-pocket gap they are unable to afford. 

To qualify for assistance through the Movement Disorders Fund, recipients must be actively treated for one of the listed movement disorders, have Medicare, meet income guidelines and be receiving treatment within the United States.

The fund will assist patients diagnosed with movement-related chronic diseases, including (but not limited to) Huntington's Disease, Tourette Syndrome, Parkinson's Disease, Chorea, Tardive Dyskinesia and General Dyskinesia.

"We are excited about the launch of this new fund as it represents hope and a financial lifeline for so many Americans who suffer from these incurable and devastating diseases," said Krista Zodet, HealthWell Foundation President.

"It's an honor to work side by side with recognized leaders in these disease communities to ensure that we reach as many patients as possible who will benefit from this resource.  Only through the generosity of our donors are we able to bring financial relief to these patients and give them a little less worry about being able to afford to start or continue treatments."

The nonprofit has been assisting the underinsured and chronically ill with copayment and premium assistance since 2003.  In total the HealthWell Foundation has been a lifeline for over 250,000 underinsured patients in more than 50 disease areas.  Although the MDF is limited to Medicare recipients, HealthWell’s outreach also assists adults and children who struggle with affording necessary healthcare.    

Even though Medicare supplemental policies can help with cost shares, the option to use a HealthWell grant to cover premiums may be the best option for the specialty care that some patients desperately need. 

"The average patient spends thousands of dollars on treatments that make a substantial difference in their lives, and many families can't absorb the high cost,” said Michael S. Okun, MD, Professor and Chair of Neurology, University of Florida and National Medical Director of the Parkinson's Foundation.

“If a Parkinson's patient misses a single dose of medicine, it can leave them temporarily disabled and unable to function. The Parkinson's Foundation is happy to partner with the HealthWell Foundation to make it easier for patients and families to access the evidence-based therapies to make their lives better."

According to the foundation, 31 million people are underinsured in the US, with 51 percent of those reporting problems with bills and debt and 44 percent forgoing needed care altogether.

In a 2013 report, the HealthWell Foundation stated that even though the ACA had decreased rates of the uninsured, it “does not address the issue of the tens of millions of people who will still lack adequate insurance and the means to cover the copayments required by their new health insurance coverage.”

"The assistance that the HealthWell Foundation will be able to provide to individuals living with Huntington's disease through this fund addresses an unmet and critical need," said Louise Vetter, President and Chief Executive Officer, Huntington's Disease Society of America.

"Huntington's Disease (HD) is a devastating and debilitating disease for which there is no cure. Offering copayment and premium assistance as a resource to HD patients and their families will certainly go a long way in diminishing some of the financial obstacles they face in treating their disease."

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