Financial Stress of Chronic Illness

Chronic illness changes our lives in profound ways, on a long-term basis. In addition to all of the challenges associated with the management of persistent symptoms, there are unique financial ramifications of chronic illness.

For example, my annual social security disability benefit is only one-tenth of my current earning capacity. Trying to survive on such a substantial reduction in my income has been a significant adjustment.

Even with Medicare insurance, I still currently owe thousands of dollars in medical bills. This includes charges for outpatient visits, medical imaging, and multiple surgeries.

Then, there are the monthly co-payments associated with taking more than a dozen medications, on a daily basis. Whenever possible, I request a generic version of my daily medications. Currently, I have an outstanding balance of several hundred dollars at a local pharmacy.

Currently, I’m very concerned about the costs that will be associated with undergoing a tracheal re-section. This is a substantial source of stress, in addition to experiencing significant anxiety about having such an aggressive surgery.

I’m currently working. I have two part-time jobs. I’m very careful to not exceed the very modest amount of monthly income that I am allowed to earn, and still retain my disability benefits. I do believe that this amount is artificially low, given my earning potential.

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