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Monoclonal antibody treatment costs

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 3:29 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Health leaders said the demand for monoclonal antibody treatment continues to be in high demand in Alabama. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has said if you get this treatment early on in a COVID infection it can keep you out of the hospital.

This week Alabama received about 6,600 doses of monoclonal antibodies. The cost of the drug is covered, but you can expect to pay some administrative costs if you seek this valuable treatment.

At MainStreet Family Care they have seen the demand for monoclonal antibody treatments skyrocket. Betsey Stewart with MainStreet said,“ Companywide we were doing between 60-80 IV treatments a day. Keep in mind that treatment takes two hours per patient.”

The monoclonal drug is expensive but the federal government is covering the cost. “The drug itself is provided free to the sites. That is significant because the drug normally costs between $3,000 to $5,000 a dose,” Dr. Michael Saag, UAB Infectious Diseases, said.

Still you can expect to pay other costs associated with the treatment. “Insurance should cover any administration charges. It should be covered by your co-pay,” Stewart said.

Some infusion and treatment centers may charge a co-pay for the office visit and a cost to administer the drug. If you don’t have insurance the healthcare provider will bill the federal government.

“For uninsured patients we are still submitting those charges to the federal government’s uninsured portal to help relieve any cost to uninsured patients,” Stewart said.

Check with your insurance company and healthcare provider over your cost coverage before the treatment. Even with the cost, Dr. Saag said it’s an important treatment to get.

“If we reduce the number of people in the hospital with COVID we don’t get the backup in the emergency room. We won’t have ICU beds being unavailable for folks,” Saag said.

MainStreet Family Care planned to add a trailer at their Pelham office to help with demand, either tomorrow or next week.

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