Seeking lyme disease financial assistance can be difficult for many individuals as it is considered a rare disease. In the United States, there are 36,307 of reported cases in 2012 of lyme disease. It is the most commonly reported vectorborn disease within America and is ranked number 7 in the most common notifiable disease.
Many people in the United States however have not heard of lyme disease. This is because of the smaller number of cases which is predominately found in northeast and upper midwest areas.
In fact, 95 percent of lyme disease cases were found to be in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Cost Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be very expensive to treat. For individuals looking for lyme disease financial assistance options, the cost of lyme disease can vary depending on the stage or severity of the disease.
According to a 2006 study entitled ‘Economic impact of Lyme disease‘, the average annual cost of lyme disease for one individual is $8,172. This study examined the costs from 23,763 cases of lyme disease.
Individuals with early stages of lyme disease can incur substantially smaller medical costs at $1,310. However, for patients with late stages of lyme disease, the cost can exceed $20,000 easily.
This cost comprises of the medical costs and non-medical costs, where 14 percent of these costs were medical costs such as treatment, medication, testing and visits to medical providers. A large portion of costs at 86 percent were due to non-medical costs. For example, parking, food, transportation, accommodation for long distance treatment and loss of income.
Lyme Disease Financial Assistance Options
Due to the incidences of lyme disease being considered low compared to other illnesses and diseases in the US, patients with lyme disease will have limited financial assistance options.
Participating In Drug Programs
The first option that may be available to you are financial assistance programs developed and run by pharmaceutical companies. One example of a program that may be available is called Bridges to Access. Run by GlaxoSmithKline, this program is open to US residents only who can prove have a household income lower of $55,000 or less. You must not be receiving any prescription health benefits.
Common problems with such programs that patients have encountered is the availability of only certain drugs. As the pharmaceutical company runs the program, they also govern which drugs are available, the length one person can receive assistance for and the eligibility into the program. Each program can only take in a certain number of patients, which can also limit the use of these assistance programs.
Financial Assistance From Non-Profit Organizations
There are very few non-profit organizations that exist with a mission or central cause to help patients with lyme disease.
The LymeAid 4 Kids Fund, is a charity that helps children suffering from lyme disease. Funding is provided for children living in low economic households, and who are in need of financial assistance to pay for treatment.
If the initial cost of tests are already setting you and your family back, you can try getting assistance from the Lyme Test Access Program. The Lyme Test Access Program (Lyme-TAP) is available nationally for patients who require Lyme-related lab tests. Similar to most programs and assistance available, you must prove that you are having financial difficulties in order to get approved for assistance.
Unfortunately for many families who are struggling with medical debt due to lyme disease medical expenses, many non-profit organizations are able to provide non-monetary support and assistance.
Non-profits can make referrals and provide helpful information. With limited funding, non-profit organizations can often reject patients in true financial need.
Fundraising For Lyme Disease
With limited financial assistance options available, many individuals and their families have opted to fundraise for financial assistance instead. Raising funds from your own personal networks can make a huge difference in paying for much need treatment and medication.
Individuals with lyme disease can easily set up a fundraising page online without any cost to them. Unlike other programs and assistance options, the only requirement to start a fundraiser is medical proof that you or a loved one has lyme disease.
Another benefit of fundraising for a loved one with lyme disease is that there are no limitations on how much you can raise or how you can use the funds. The family are able to start raising funds immediately online and determine the best method of using the funds. This might be to offer a patient access to medication and tests, or for overseas treatment to cure lyme disease.
Often the financial assistance programs can offer band-aid solutions, particularly when there is a cure for lyme disease available elsewhere. To access better treatment, you can fundraise for the cost in order to pay out of pocket.
Treatment of lyme disease is an ongoing cost for families, where many individuals are required medication, regular checkups and medical attention for more than 2 years.
1) Reported Cases of Lyme Disease by Year, United States, 1995-2013: http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/chartstables/casesbyyear.html
2) Final 2013 Lyme Reported Case Numbers: http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/index.php/about-lyme/cases-stats-maps-a-graphs/1259-final-2013-lyme-disease-reported-case-numbers
3) Lyme Disease Statistics: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/lyme/statistics.html
4) Annual Lyme costs now top $3.1 billion—It’s time to wake up!: http://lymedisease.org/news/lyme_disease_views/lymepolicywonk-annual-lyme-costs-now-top-3-1-billion%E2%80%94it%E2%80%99s-time-to-wake-up.html
6) A cost-of-illness study of Lyme disease in the United States: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9829450
7) Economic Impact of Lyme Disease: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/12/4/pdfs/05-0602.pdf
8) The Cost of Chronic Lyme Disease: A Maine Woman’s Story: http://www.mpbn.net/Home/tabid/36/ctl/ViewItem/mid/5347/ItemId/33430/Default.aspx
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