Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank God for health insurance

Today, I am celebrating the fact that I have great health insurance!

Today was Sebastian's first of many visits to the dermatologist. I really liked the doctor, despite the fact that he looks about 12 years old. He was great about taking the time to explain everything to me - not only the specifics about vitiligo, but also the many treatments available. He was quick to explain that there is no cure and, though there are many treatments, not every treatment works for everyone. The biggest concern is that this vitiligo is called "confetti" vitiligo, meaning that it doesn't have a regular pattern but is scattered all over the body. Confetti vitiligo can be very aggressive, but the doctor is fairly confidant that we will be able to slow/stop progression because we are catching and treating very early in it's development.

Step one is a non-steroidal topical immuno-suppresant. As I said before, his immune system is attacking the melanocytes, so the hope is that this topical will suppress his immune system only in those spots. If this doesn't work, we will then graduate to a steroid based immuno-suppresant. There are a number of these with different levels of steroids that we can try. If none of those are helpful, there is also treatment with UV lights. The doctor definitely doesn't want to think about that yet due to Sebastian's age. He doesn't recommend UV light therapy until at least 10 years old or if the vitiligo is really severe. So, we were given a prescription for his cream and an appointment in 6 weeks. The doctor made sure that I understood that if the spots increase or worsen before the 6 weeks we should get in sooner.

At the pharmacy counter, I was surprised to be charged $30 copay for this tube of ointment. Then I looked at the "actual cost" - $256!!! Holy cow!

So, today I am extremely thankful for Kaiser Permanente. I know that not everyone thinks highly of Kaiser, but I couldn't be happier. With Sebastian's first visit to the pediatrician, there was never a hesitation to run tests. On Friday, I emailed the doctor requesting a referral to dermatology because I was concerned about finding more spots. By Monday afternoon I had an appointment booked for Wednesday morning. All of this, on top of the prescription cost, makes me so relieved that we have the insurance coverage that we have.

I know that not everyone is as fortunate as we are, and I pray those who aren't able to receive the health care that they need.

No comments: