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How can I reduce the cost of my multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment?

Rates for different procedures and treatments can vary widely from one provider to the next. Any hospital should be able to tell you its charges-to-cost ratio, but you will have to ask, as they will likely not volunteer the information. Find out what Medicare would pay for your condition or surgery, since that program tends to pay less than private insurers.

The following tips can help you reduce your healthcare costs if you have multiple sclerosis (MS):

  • Shop around—Consider all your options and evaluate your health plan every year. Premiums are a factor but pay particular attention to deductibles and how prescription drugs are handled. Ask other people with multiple sclerosis (MS) how their policy works, and make sure your neurologist is covered under the plan you choose.
  • Break out the magnifying glass—Watch out for billing mistakes if you are hospitalized. As many as 80 percent of hospital bills contain errors. Keep a log of the tests and medications you receive and check it against your medical file. If you find a problem, ask for a corrected bill through a certified letter. Make sure to send a copy of the documents to your insurance company.
  • Deduct your co-pays—Medical bills that exceed 7.5 percent of your gross income are a tax write-off. The list of deductions that can be taken for health-related expenses is long and includes medical insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Also on the list are some things you might not expect, like nontraditional forms of medicine, such as visits to the chiropractor, assistive devices, home modifications, and even medical conference fees, so long as they relate to a chronic illness. Visit www.irs.gov to see if your expenses qualify.
  • Consider your total costs—Disease modifying treatments for MS are expensive, but you can cut down on your total costs by saving money on other prescriptions. Look at what other drugs can be switched for a generic, or found for less at a discount store pharmacy or online. Wal-Mart, for example, has a $4 prescription program with more than 350 generic drugs and upward of 1,000 over-the-counter medications.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.