Saturday, March 14, 2009

The cost of being sick

Let me first say that I feel blessed to have private health insurance that allowed me to go to see any doctor and have most tests done. I know that many Americans don't have that luxury and will have a much harder time receiving any treatment for that reason.

But I have to say, that I can't afford having MS. I have PPO coverage with Anthem (Blue Cross of California). I have a co pay of $35 (which isn't too bad), a deductible of $500, and I'm responsible for 30%-50% of everything else. Yes, it's better than nothing, but it's not affordable. Between MRIs, visits to the hospital, blood tests, and the monthly Avonex injections (not covered by my insurance and will cost $538.64/month) my portion of the cost greatly exceeds my monthly income. When I mention this to others, they always suggest that I apply for financial assistance or charity care, but many of those programs do not apply to someone with insurance or a person with my income or they don't have the money to take on another case.

Yes, I work hard and the small business that I work for compensates me well. But the business is part-time and my earnings reflect that. Plus, the sicker I get, the less time I am able to work, and the less money I bring home. My partner and I have discussed my other options, like taking time off to recuperate and applying for government assistance, but I'm not fully disabled yet and I want to continue to work and pull my weight as long as I can. My earning potential is still higher than what the government can offer and with the condition of our federal and state economy, it would be irresponsible and selfish to stop working now.

So, I'm frustrated. I want and need treatment and care, but I can't work and take care of my responsibilities and also afford to be sick. It just seems so unfair.

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