Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) takes a toll on your health; not only on your digestive system but also on your entire body. However, that’s only part of the story: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis also eat away at your professional and personal relationships, as well as your finances. IBD is expensive. Having outstanding medical bills can put significant stress into the life of someone with IBD. In some cases, medical debt can make it difficult to be seen by providers because it’s not possible to make an appointment or get a test until a bill is paid.
That’s why people in the chronic illness community are always on the lookout for ways to maximize costs or to use lower-cost services whenever possible. Unfortunately, it can take time and energy to find free or low-cost services; and people with IBD may not have these resources available to them, either. The resources found here can be used to help keep costs a little lower, while still accessing the services that people with IBD need.
- Talk with an Information Specialist
This important and versatile service offered to people with IBD may also be one that is under-utilized. At the IBD Help Center, patients, caregivers, and parents can talk with a specialist via phone, email, or live chat. This is not to replace visits with qualified physicians, such as a gastroenterologist, psychologist, colorectal surgeon, or dietician, but is meant to provide education on an as-needed basis. Some of the things that the information specialists can help with include information about a test, procedure, medication, or surgery. They can also help decode medical jargon that is so commonly used when treating IBD. Patients shouldn’t hesitate to use this free resource which is always available.
- Find A Support Group
Online support has been so crucial to helping people with IBD live a better quality of life. However, local support groups are also important because there’s nothing like having someone to talk to in person who understand the area in which you live as well as the disease. The Foundation has a number of local chapters around the country that have many different kinds of support groups.
- Find A Doctor Resources
Whether you need a new physician because you moved or it’s time for a change, there are many resources available to find a specialist. An online doctor finder is a good source of information to help in finding a physician that has the right interests, qualifications, and location. Insurance companies can also help in finding a physician that is in-network: call the number on the back of the insurance card to use that service.
- MotherToBaby: Medications and More
Men and women who live with IBD, having children means a lot of questions. The most important thing to keep in mind for women is that the IBD should be in remission prior to trying to conceive. However, the journey doesn’t end there because there are questions about the use of medication from before conception through breastfeeding and beyond. MotherToBaby has a wealth of information to provide answers to some of these questions, including fact sheets and a contact an expert phone number, text tool, email, and live chat. MotherToBaby has expertise when it comes to IBD and the services provided are both free and confidential.
- Pillbox From the National Institutes of Health
It happens: there’s a pill that needs identifying. Whether it’s because a label was lost or for a double-check to ensure the right drug came home from the pharmacy, it’s easy to identify a pill in this database from the National Institutes of Health. Search for a medication by name, ingredient, color, size, inactive ingredient, or number imprinted on it. Once the medication is found, other useful information is also provided, such as package photos, links to manufacturers, and clinical trials. Some types of supplements may be included but injections and infusions are not available in this database.
- NeedyMeds Patient Assistance Programs Finder
Most drug manufacturers have patient assistance programs (PAPs) but they might not be easy to find. In some cases, drugs can be gotten for low or no cost through a patient assistance program. PAPs are going to be highly variable as to what they cover and how, but this resource can help in finding them, as well as with several other aspects of medications, including transportation, scholarships, and government programs.
- IBD Passport
Going somewhere? IBD Passport is a foundation that can help people with IBD on all aspects of traveling with these diseases. Users can learn about vaccinations needed for visiting different areas of the world, how to travel with various medications, and finding a physician in a particular location. Founded by an IBD nurse who also lives with IBD, it’s a perfect resource for learning how to get out of the house while managing IBD.
Is this all the services that are available to people with IBD? Hells no! If you know of another, let me know here: https://aboutibd.com/contact-amber/