It is shocking to me how much it costs to live with a disease like multiple sclerosis. If someone would have told me before I was diagnosed that some of the meds can cost up to $70k a year, I would have laughed at them and said, “You ‘re crazy. Nothing costs that much.”
How wrong I would have been.
Thankfully some of the meds can be provided at lower costs, but not all of them can. The handful of meds and supplements used for spasticity, pain, vitamin D deficiency, bladder and bowel issues, tremors, cognitive difficulties, and vertigo add up. Sadly the expense doesn’t end there.
There is also the cost for mobility aids, medical equipment, doctor’s appointments, home modifications, and caretakers. Add to that the cost for insurance premiums, copays, transportation, MRI’s and blood test. Everything just keeps piling up and emptying the bank account.
Over time I have found some organizations that will help with the increased expenses.
When my teeth kept breaking I searched online for help and found a group called Dental LifeLine Network that helps people with disabilities get donated dental help. Last year I filled out an application for help and was recently approved. They hooked me up with a local dentist that would correct all of my dental issues at no cost to me. I have a few more appointments left and should have a beautiful smile once again.
Insurance Premiums and Medication Support:
I came across an organization that provides financial help for people with serious and chronic diseases. There are several out there, but the one I applied to was The Assistance Fund (TAF). Because of their help I am able to have a supplemental insurance plan that covers all of the costs that my regular insurance plan doesn’t cover. I now have 100% coverage for any durable medical equipment the doctor prescribes. Things like wheelchairs, a hospital bed, bathroom grab bars, and wheelchair ramps. I also have complete coverage for all needed blood tests and MRI’s.
The MSAA Cooling Program offers cooling vests and accessories for people with multiple sclerosis. Cooling vests are commonly worn over clothing and contain insulated pockets that hold small ice packs. MSAA also offers smaller products to wear under clothing as well as accessories to help cool the neck, wrists and ankles. They provide these products at no charge. I wouldn’t be able to make it outside in the summer heat without one.
MS Support and Assistance:
When I needed hand controls for driving I applied for assistance with The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. They have different programs to help people with MS get the support they need. Things like Emergency Assistance to help with rent and utilities, a Computer Program that provides a laptop or desktop computer for individuals with MS on limited or fixed incomes, and a Assistive Technology Program that will help locate, partially fund, or provide full funding for a wide range of devices.
In my state (Alabama), they offer a waver for people with a disability to be exempt from having to pay an annual property tax for a home. This can save someone thousands of dollars a year. Check around your local area for other types of programs like utility support to help with the high cost of running an air conditioner throughout the summer months, food programs that deliver ready made meals to your home, and exercise programs that help people with a disability to stay active.
There are other organizations out there that help people with MS, these are just the ones I have used. If you have a need, ask around for help, search the internet and don’t give up.