RA Anxieties: Financial Stress
In this series, we discuss causes of anxiety for those facing physical illness like rheumatoid arthritis and its side effects. Phrases in quotes are the words of our community members across various conditions on what it’s like to deal with these anxieties.
When we asked our communities about their biggest anxieties, money matters topped the list. Many people have to juggle multiple chronic conditions on top of daily costs. Caregivers, too, may take on quite a bit of stress in supporting loved ones financially.
Sources of anxiety
”Will my medical bills take every penny?” "Change in prescription costs"
Paying for treatment, even with insurance, can be extremely expensive. Others might not understand how the bills can add up. You might end up sacrificing some areas to keep up with health-related costs. There can also be concern about the future. One community member wondered, "how will I afford care as I get older. Already broke and on disability!"
”Health insurance and pre-existing conditions”
Many community members mentioned the frustration of having to navigate the confusing world of insurance. If any of your health problems are considered pre-existing conditions, coverage can be even more complicated. One member asks herself, "whether my insurance will cover the next medication that might work."
”Needing meds I can't afford” “Unable to even see a doctor”
Navigating disability and insurance coverage is often a full-time job. For instance, one community member explained that they "haven’t had health insurance for the past several years so [they] can’t afford to go to the doctor for treatment or whenever a new symptom pops up." It can be hard to stay ahead of symptoms and flares when you aren't able to visit a doctor regularly.
"Losing my health insurance before I get on SSI."
If finding work gets hard, there can be added anxiety about losing coverage. The extra stress of staying in a job or finding a job can make symptoms worse, or make it harder to manage caring for your loved ones.
Talking with other community members is a great place to start. Others can provide the latest tips coupons, assistance programs from their personal experience. Many organizations provide resources to help with cost and navigating coverage. Below you’ll find a few potential resources:
- While not every nonprofit provides financial assistance, they can often refer you to programs. In addition to national nonprofits like The Arthritis Foundation, contact local nonprofits that may know about local resources.
- Our advocate Tamara's article on cost of RA treatments
- RA & Health Insurance
Have you taken our Rheumatoid Arthritis In America survey?