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Living with chronic pain can put a strain on many aspects of your life- your emotional health, physical well-being, relationships…but sometimes the greatest strain feels as if it is on the wallet.  Being sick comes at a great cost.  Even with insurance, illness can be costly.  With co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, not to mention in and out-of-network care, you have to be an insurance agent just to get a physical.

General healthcare is expensive, especially if you try to live a healthy lifestyle.  When you add up things like gym memberships, supplements and healthy food, even being healthy is expensive.  However, when you include multiple doctor visits a month (or a week in some cases), hospital visits, surgeries, tests, procedures, physical therapy, multiple medications and other costs associated with illness, the price of trying to keep pain under control can be astronomical.

Trying to figure out how to afford living with chronic pain is also a major stressor.  That stress, of figuring out how to pay doctor bills, especially if you are unable to work, or work full-time, leads to additional pain and illness due to the emotional toll it takes on your body.  This stress also puts a burden on spouses, for those who are married or family members who assume responsibility for someone who is ill.  At times, the financial strain can damage, or even destroy relationships, ending in yet another vicious cycle of stress and pain.

There are financial analysts and planners that can help you figure out how to finance your illness, and some even work for free.  Short of employing professional help, the next best step is just laying out all your costs (and assuming additional future costs) and debts versus your income and trying to figure out what can be cut and what is necessary. Some may even be considering, or have applied for permanent disability, a decision not to be taken lightly due to the impact it can have on your financial future.  Luckily, there are programs that offer free or reduced cost advice for people in this situation.

I understand firsthand the damage, monetary and otherwise, that living with chronic pain can do and I do my best to make use of assistance programs, free advice, and of course Google, but when all is said and done, the financial issues are a source of stress, anxiety and fear.

How do you cope with the financial burdens of being sick?

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons License Chelsea Gomez (Oakes) via Compfight