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The Cost of PsA

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on June 21, 2021

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a long-term (chronic) disease that affects the joints and the skin. It can cause pain, swelling, and joint stiffness.

PsA may also be expensive.

Treatments, medications, and assistive devices can be pricey. If you’re missing work, that lost income can add up, too.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the economic burden of psoriatic diseases like PsA is up to $135 billion a year.

What PsA will cost you depends a lot on your health insurance plan. But generally, the more severe your disease, the more you’ll need to spend.

One study found that even though about 91% of people with psoriasis or PsA were covered by insurance, most still had more than $2,500 a year in out-of-pocket costs.

Cost of Treatments

Treatment costs can vary a lot and will depend on the medicine you take and your insurance plan. Health insurance usually covers part of many expenses, but you might still have to pay a hefty amount.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are usually affordable, and you can buy some of them over the counter.

Prescription steroids can range from $25 to $300.

Your doctor may prescribe biologics, medications made from living cells. They can help you a lot, but they’re also some of the priciest drugs on the market. They may run from $10,000 to $30,000 a year. The most expensive biologics could cost more than $500,000.

Another common PsA medicine, known as a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), can cost between $1,500 and $2,000 a year, depending on the type and brand.

In some cases, people need surgery for PsA, and the cost of that varies quite a bit. The average price for a total knee replacement, for example, is around $31,000.

Physical or occupational therapy sessions may cost hundreds of dollars an hour.

Cost of Assistive Devices

Assistive devices can help you get around and make everyday tasks easier to handle. Your insurance plan may cover part or all of the cost of these gadgets.

Some common assistive devices for people with PsA include:

  • Automatic jar openers. They’re usually around $15 to $45.
  • Braces or splints. It depends on the type and brand, but these devices cost about $20 to more than $85.
  • Crutches. A pair of crutches generally costs $20 to $50.
  • Canes. A standard cane typically runs $15 to $20.
  • Walkers. Most traditional walkers cost $30 to $100. Premium walkers with more features can run up to $600.
  • Grabbers. You can usually find a reaching device for between $13 and $35.
  • Shower chairs. Basic chairs can cost $30 to $60. Those with more features are priced much higher.

Indirect Costs

Loss of income may be a big concern for people with PsA. In one survey, one-third of people with PsA said they missed work because of their disease. Those missed days can add up and affect your finances.

Another indirect cost of PsA comes from mental health issues. Nearly 30% of people with psoriasis or PsA have depression. Sometimes, they need more medicines or therapies to deal with these emotional issues.

PsA can also lead to complications, like vision or heart issues, which can add to your treatment costs.

How to Manage Costs

First, talk with your health insurance company. Find out what your plan covers and what it doesn’t, so you aren’t caught off guard.

If you don’t have insurance, or if you have coverage but can’t afford your medicines, help may be available.

Here are some tips:

  • Talk to your provider. Your doctor or pharmacist can often help you find ways to cut costs.
  • Look for financial aid. Many nonprofit organizations and drug companies offer free or discounted medications to people who qualify. Check the National Psoriasis Foundation website for more information on resources.
  • Compare prices. Medication prices may depend on which pharmacy you use. Websites like GoodRX, Pharmacy Checker, and RxSaver can help you find the best deals.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Arthritis Foundation: “Arthritis by the Numbers,” “Self-Help Arthritis Devices,” “Out of Pocket Costs,” “10 Tips for Managing Arthritis Care Costs.”

Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas: “The Cost of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis in 5 European Countries: A Systematic Review.”

Drugs: “Why Biologics and Biosimilars Remain So Expensive: Despite Two Wins for Biosimilars, the Supreme Court's Recent Rulings do not Solve Fundamental Barriers to Competition.”

Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network: “RA Treatment Costs: What are the Costs of RA Medications and Surgery?”

NYU Langone Health: “Surgery for Psoriatic Arthritis.”

Assistive Technology Industry Association: “AT Resources Funding Guide.”

Mayo Clinic: “Psoriatic arthritis.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Financial Assistance.”

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