I had always heard that insurance companies were hard to deal with when you were diagnosed with a serious medical condition. But what did I know? I mean, I never had any medical issues prior to this. I went to see my primary care physician once per year for my annual physical, saw the dentist once every six months, paid my co-pays on time, always was able to cover the costs of my prescription medicines…
But nothing could prepare me for what happened after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It all started back in 2002. I was only 31 years old and I started to notice that every so often, it was almost as if a piece of wax paper was obscuring my vision. I went to the optometrist, who referred me to a neurologist. I had to have an MRI and that’s when they discovered there were lesions on my brain. The myelin sheath was being degraded by my own cells. MS is degenerative, and not long after my diagnosis did things get worse.
My legs were in severe pain all the time… like pins and needles… as if your legs fell asleep but no matter what you do, you can’t shake off the pain. I was exhausted all the time, and severely angry. What did I do to deserve this?!
As if being diagnosed with MS wasn’t bad enough, I began to have problems with the insurance company. I had insurance through my job, and since I already reached my deductible after the third MRI, the insurance company should have covered a significant portion of my medical expenses and prescriptions.
But the new drug they put me on wasn’t covered by the insurance company at first. It was a relatively new drug meant to slow down the amount of flare ups I had. I was going in for infusions of the drug which took six hours once per month, and suddenly I have a bill in front of me totalling over $100,000.
The insurance company was no help at all. They told me I needed to get approval for the drug beforehand and that it wasn’t authorized through the insurance company. But how would I have known I had to do that? It isn’t as though I had MS before now!
Eventually, I ended up having to switch health insurance companies because mine became unbearable to work with. Things are not easier now, but at least I got my infusion covered.