Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes itchy and inflamed lesions on the skin. Most people with psoriasis need to see medical professionals regularly. Ideally, they see providers who specialize in the treatment of skin conditions. Unfortunately, access to care can be difficult for some people with psoriasis.
This article discusses barriers to treatment for people with psoriasis and how to overcome them.
Access to care and psoriasis
Access to care means having the ability to see the type of provider you need, when you need them. It also means getting effective and affordable treatment for your condition.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Research, Health, and Quality, factors affecting access to care include:
- Insurance cover
- Access to a health facility
- Ability to get an appointment in a timely manner
- Treatment by qualified healthcare providers
People with psoriasis usually need regular health care to treat their symptoms, prevent the condition from getting worse or prevent it from affecting the joints. Although it can be mild, psoriasis can also be serious and is sometimes a complicated disease to treat. The ability to access care is therefore vital.
- Thickened, raised rashes
- Flaky and itchy skin
- Joint inflammation
People with severe psoriasis are also at a higher risk of developing heart disease or other serious health problems, so they should be monitored for concomitant conditions as well.
Access to psoriasis specialists
A study of patients with psoriasis found that more than 90% of them had seen a provider in the previous two years, but only about 78% of these patients had seen a provider trained in psoriasis. specialist.
Problems of access to care for patients with psoriasis
Some people with psoriasis experience barriers to accessing the kind of specialized care they need. There are several reasons why this can be difficult, including:
- Assurance: If you are uninsured or have limited coverage, your insurer may refuse or not cover certain effective but expensive treatments such as Organic Products.
- Expenses at your expense: Costs paid directly by patients with psoriasis represent approximately 55% of the total cost of treatment.
- Shortage of dermatologists: Many people in the United States live in areas where there are not enough dermatologists. This can result in long wait times to see a provider.
- Shortage of rheumatologists: There is a similar shortage of rheumatologists in the United States
According to research with people who haven’t seen a provider for their psoriasis for more than two years, the top reasons they cited were dropping out of treatment altogether and high costs.
Does the insurance cover the treatment of psoriasis?
Individual health insurance policies vary, but insurance coverage for biologics, one of the most effective treatments for moderate to severe psoriasis, can be difficult to obtain. You may need to get prior authorization from your provider or show that you have tried other treatments. Financial assistance may be available if your insurance does not cover the treatment recommended by your provider.
Improving access to care
The evolution of the care offer has facilitated access to a service provider and to financial assistance for certain patients. Some of these improvements include:
- Free or low-cost dermatology clinics for Medicaid participants or those without insurance
- Telehealth and teledermatology for those on Medicaid or for people living in areas where there are not enough dermatologists
- More primary care providers are receiving additional training in dermatology
- Help cover costs including co-pay cards, patient assistance programs, free health centers and non-profit organizations
- Pharmacy cards that can help you find the lowest prices for prescription drugs
Some longer-term solutions that are being looked at to improve access to care include:
- Direct access to specialists, so you don’t need a referral to see a dermatologist
- Increase the number of practicing dermatologists and rheumatologists
Ask your health care provider or visit the official federal website, USA.govfor more information on payment for medical care.
People with psoriasis may experience difficulty accessing care. This may include the inability to see a qualified provider in a timely manner and to obtain appropriate and affordable treatment. Lack of insurance or inadequate coverage, high costs and shortage of specialists contribute to the problem.
Telehealth visits, free or low-cost dermatology clinics, financial assistance, and healthcare providers who have received additional training in psoriasis treatment can help address these access-to-care issues so that people with psoriasis can get the help they need.
A word from Verywell
Psoriasis symptoms and pain can be difficult to live with, but fortunately there have been great advances in treatment in recent years. Many people with psoriasis respond to these new drugs or even go into remission. If you’re having trouble finding treatment or paying for it, check out the resources covered in this article to help you manage your psoriasis.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the impact of psoriasis on quality of life?
Mild psoriasis does not usually affect quality of life overwhelmingly. But if your psoriasis is severe or if you have psoriatic arthritis, which can cause debilitating joint pain, it may be more difficult to comfortably go about your daily activities. Newer treatments like biologics can be very effective in treating psoriasis symptoms.
What happens if psoriasis is left untreated?
Psoriasis is more likely to develop into psoriatic arthritis, a painful condition that can damage joints, if left untreated. Psoriasis can also be linked to other health problems, including heart disease. Treatment to manage psoriasis is therefore important.
Does the insurance cover the treatment of psoriasis?
Health insurance policies vary, but insurance companies may refuse to cover some psoriasis treatments that can be expensive but very effective for moderate to severe psoriasis. If your treatment is denied, you can appeal the decision, ask your provider to seek prior authorization, or apply for financial assistance from foundations, the federal government, or pharmaceutical companies.