Paying for Epilepsy Treatment
Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: November 2021 | Last updated: March 2022
Paying for epilepsy treatments can be a challenge for many people. Even if you are covered by insurance, it rarely pays for all of the expenses required to treat your seizures. Some of the costs that may not be covered include:1-3
- Newer anti-seizure drugs versus older ones
- Brand name versus generic
- Travel and parking for appointments
- Advanced testing
One study found epilepsy costs $15,414 per person, per year. This included office visits, hospital stays, emergency room visits, and treatment costs. People with drug-resistant epilepsy spend nearly $10,000 more than those with stable epilepsy.2
If you are struggling to pay for your treatments, you are not alone. The Epilepsy Foundation cites paying for medicine as one of the most common problems people with seizures face. When looking for help paying for your anti-seizure drugs, it may be easy to get discouraged. Try to remember that taking your medicine consistently greatly reduces your chances of landing in the hospital and reducing overall costs of care.2
Tips to lower costs and find financial help
Finding help paying for epilepsy treatment requires time and effort. If you find it overwhelming, do not hesitate to ask for support from family, friends, or your healthcare team. Most people need help understanding and navigating the maze that is the U.S. healthcare system. Some tips include:1,3
- The Epilepsy Foundation supports a toll-free number that may be able to help you find lower-cost drugs. Call 1-800-332-1000 or find a local chapter near you.
- While expensive, epilepsy surgery may be more cost-effective in the long run compared to the lifetime costs of anti-seizure drugs.
- Use a mail-order pharmacy. Getting drugs by mail can be a good option for people who do not drive or who simply want the convenience of having 1 less errand to run. Mail-order pharmacies work better if your prescriptions rarely change and you can get a 90-day supply.
- If you use mail-order for your anti-seizure drugs, have a back-up plan. This will ensure you do not run out of medicine if there is a mail delay, a paperwork snag, or your prescription changes.
- Sometimes your insurance will deny you access to a certain medicine. Call your doctor’s office and ask if a nurse or social worker can help you file an appeal with your insurance company.
- Your doctor’s office may know of local and national nonprofits that specialize in helping people with epilepsy pay for their treatment and find support.
- MedicineAssistanceTool.org is a website that lists prescription assistance by the drugs you are taking and where you live. It is sponsored by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
- Some states offer prescription support for their citizens. For example, the state of Pennsylvania will pay for 30 days of anti-seizure medicine as a one-time emergency refill. Your doctor’s office may know of similar programs in your state.
- Epilepsy Warriors Foundation maintains a list of patient assistance programs.
See our Managing Healthcare Expenses article for more tips on finding ways to pay for epilepsy treatment.