Young and uninsured

| Chris Paoli

Since launching in 2016, the NPF Patient Navigation Center has helped more than 26,500 individuals in managing psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.

Navigators work one-on-one with patients online or over the phone. Support ranges from breaking down the latest treatment options to finding the right health care professional to overcoming insurance hurdles.

Every person is unique, and the resources given to one person may not be right for the next. That’s why NPF navigators offer personalized assistance tailored to the individual.

Here is Matt Fillingame’s story.

Matt Fillingame’s mother contacted the Patient Navigation Center in early 2019 for information on financial assistance for Matt’s psoriasis medication. The 28-year-old University of Southern Mississippi library science graduate student has no insurance after aging out of his parents' policy, and access to treatment became sporadic because of financial burdens. The limited health care he can receive through his school doesn’t include coverage for his psoriasis.

Up to this point, Fillingame had been using a variety of topical creams (some with steroids, some without). However, his plaque psoriasis started to become more severe and, while he could afford topical medications thanks to occasional help from his grandparents, they were having little effect.

A patient navigator worked with Matt’s mother, his grandparents and Matt to find a treatment option that worked for him and his budget.

“After I talked to Matt and his family, I did some research on some free and low-income options in his area and found a sliding-scale clinic that would be perfect for him,” says his patient navigator.

And it was exactly what Matt needed. The total cost for his initial visit and tests was $50, and his doctor recommended that Matt try a biologic. His navigator then sent Matt information on a patient assistance program. The biologic's manufacturer approved him for the program.

The treatment worked wonders, and, outside of a couple of small patches on his elbows, Matt’s skin is almost completely clear.

“She was a huge help with getting me the information I needed and the forms I needed to fill out,” says Matt. “Now I’m taking treatment that has cleared me up, thanks to the help from NPF.”

However, that wasn't the end of Matt’s journey with the Patient Navigation Center.

While he found a treatment that worked for him, ordering his refills became a struggle. Whether it’s the area in which he lives, or whether because he uses a prepaid cell phone, he was unable to contact the manufacturer.

Once again, his navigator stepped in to help out. Every month she connects Matt with the manufacturer through a three-way call and assists with getting his prescription refilled. While acting as a mediator between Matt and the manufacturer might not sound like something you initially think of as a service offered, it is a regular occurrence for the patient navigators.

“We do contact dermatologists, clinics and insurance companies on a daily basis on behalf of our patients,” says his navigator. “We want to make sure that when they do reach out themselves, the interaction will be productive.”

Read more in this series

Help for your specific situation

Whether you need information on treatment options, help navigating your insurance or assistance finding a medical professional in your area, NPF patient navigators are here for you.

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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