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PSORIASIS
NEWS

$1,415 — or What Two Months of Psoriasis Treatment Can Cost

Posted on February 15, 2022
Article written by
Katya Meltaus

Managing psoriasis has been a source of economic stress for me. As a public school teacher, I enjoy full health insurance coverage benefits — yet I still find it difficult to afford the treatments that are helpful to me without relying on credit.

Here is what I estimate I’ve spent over two months caring for my psoriasis.

  • Copay for one visit with the dermatologist — $15
  • Phototherapy copays — $360
  • Biologic injections (two doses) — $100
  • Psychotherapy copays — $120
  • Acupuncture copays — $120
  • Traditional Chinese medicine dermatology appointment and herbal formulas — $250
  • Functional nutritionist appointment — $100
  • Topical steroid copays — $100
  • Over-the-counter topicals, shampoos, and itch relief products — $50
  • Supplements — $200

That adds up to $1,415.

Now, many folks may choose to go without alternative medicine or supplements and will pay much less. Others not covered by health insurance or with more expensive insurance will pay much more for topicals, phototherapy, and biologic medications — potentially ending up in the tens of thousands of dollars range. Some drug manufacturers offer copay assistance for people covered by insurance, which I’ve used in the past with drugs such as Otezla (apremilast).

Alternative treatments seem to be the most costly, as they are often not covered by insurance. Most recently, I have been researching an Ayurvedic cleansing procedure called panchakarma that is used to treat chronic disease. These procedures are intense, taking place in a clinical setting over multiple days. The most basic service provided by the California College of Ayurveda is $2,200 per person. I am very curious about this treatment — but I also wonder if I would reap as many, if not more, benefits from taking a comparably priced vacation. I will be holding off on both for now and working on staying within my medical budget!

I’m sure anyone simply trying to maintain their good health, let alone treat a chronic illness, would agree that the cost of doing so can be considerable. I want to acknowledge that health equity is a huge issue and that unearned privilege has a lot to do with why I'm able to take care of my bodily needs with relative ease. Everyone by nature of being human deserves access to appropriate care when they need it, and we are falling woefully short of that basic human right.

MyPsoriasisTeam columnists discuss psoriasis from a specific point of view. Columnists’ articles don’t reflect the opinions of MyPsoriasisTeam staff, medical experts, partners, advertisers, or sponsors. MyPsoriasisTeam content isn’t intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Katya Meltaus is an early childhood educator living in the Bay Area. She has been managing severe psoriasis for the past two years. Learn more about her here.

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