Financial strain is a common problem with those fighting Lyme disease. Sadly, due to the controversies surrounding diagnosis and treatment for this disease, many suffer from this.
It often starts as misdiagnosis for years, which means going to doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist, and test after test. If one is not diagnosed with Lyme disease, and the disease is allowed to continue to worsen, they often get to such a point of disability that they lose their jobs. This, in turn, results in losing homes, family, marriages, and relationships.
Once a person is diagnosed with Lyme disease and treatment begins, they are often quickly cut off by insurance companies or their doctors refuse to treat past the 3-4 weeks currently suggested by Lyme treatment guidelines. This forces the Lyme patient to go see an LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) who often do not accept insurance even if the insurance company would be willing to pay for it. Add to that the cost of monthly visits often requiring travel over long distances, antibiotics, PICC lines, antifungals, and other pharmaceuticals, the costs can quickly soar.
Unfortunately, most Lyme patients who are diagnosed in late stages become severely disabled and are unable to work. This puts extreme financial hardship on them and their families. Often, there is more than one person in a family that is infected and this can be detrimental financially, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
So where do you turn when you just can’t afford it? What do you do if you can’t even afford to be tested by a reliable laboratory and your doctor refuses to test you for Lyme disease? For those who are truly in financial need, there is help available, although it is limited. I have provided Resources & Links for your convenience.
If none of these resources can help you and you are still struggling, there are several other options available. You can always look for local organizations that provide funding for Lyme testing and treatment. Sadly, there are many foundations out there asking for donations for many diseases these days. Many people have become de-sensitized to this. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get a response, but keep on trying.
Here are some ideas:
One important thing to consider for the sake of your loved ones, is putting together a Living Will. This is not always a comfortable topic to discuss, but it is important.
Put together a flyer or create a donation page/blog to share with your friends, family, and co-workers asking them to donate what they can to go towards your treatment.
Organize a neighborhood garage sale for the purpose of raising funds for your treatment. Print out copies of the Lyme Flyer to pass out for education, and make Posters asking for donations for your treatment (include a picture if you can….seeing a face makes people want to give more). You’d be surprised how much you can raise doing this. And if you pass out the flyer and start the conversation, you are raising awareness at the same time.
Have a potluck dinner or fundraiser event at your local church or any local club you belong to and do the same as described in the Fundraiser Sale above.
Auction or Raffle
Organize a March or Walk
Organize a march or walk in your home town for awareness and donations for your treatment. Just make sure you get proper permits.
Get creative and come up with your own ideas on how to raise money. Perhaps you could even set up something with the doctor’s office to allow people to call and pay for a visit on your behalf, etc...
Apply for SSDI (Disability)
You can try to file for Disability benefits if you are permanently disabled or will be unable to work for extended periods of time. I do not personally have a lot of experience with this, but here is a link to some information regarding the process:
Help with Travel to Appointments
Travel expenses are often an issue, especially if it requires flying to see your doctor. There are some great options to help with this.
If you qualify, you can get free flights to see your doctor. Call the numbers or visit the websites listed below for more information or to find resources for other geographic areas. You can also ask if land transport is available from the airport to your doctor’s office. It is often free.
Book all flights 2-3 weeks in advance:
· Angel Flights West: 1-888-426-2643 (4AN-ANGEL) or (310) 390-2958 (local)
· Angel Flights SE: (352) 326-0761
· Angel Flights NE: (978) 794-6868
· Angel Flights Central: (816) 421-2300
· Angel Flights Mid Atlantic: 1-800-296-3797 or (757) 318-7149 (local)
· Angel Flights South Central: 1-888-500-0433
Note: Angel Flights Central is the only one that supplies reserved seats on Southwest Airlines. .
Help with Other Expenses
There are links to the right for help with other things such as medications, testing, and clinics.
NOTE: Please be advised that you do have to pay taxes on any money received as a gift or donation. You may also be able to deduct some medical expenses. I am not an expert on tax law, so please contact a tax professional for more details.
No one should have to choose between their health and their ability to survive financially…