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July 22, 2003

Community Resources, Insurance/Costs

Question from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, USA:

My 23 year old boyfriend, who has had type 1 diabetes since he was four, has had multiple ER trips in the past five years. He has been unemployed for a year, and has been unable to get a job. When he was employed, he missed too many days due to illness and was fired. Also, in the past five months, he has developed pains in his legs and feet, which may be neuropathy. He has over $50, 000 in medical bills, which we have no way of paying, and I pay for his insulin. He does not have a personal doctor, because we cannot afford the physician visits. We have been given the run-around by the local DHS office and SSA office, as well as the state hospital. No one seems interested in helping us. Are there any programs available to pay for his medical bills, physician visits, and/or prescriptions? Since he has been unemployed for a year, does he currently qualify as bring disabled? If he does have neuropathy, will this qualify him as being disabled?

Answer:

I would refer him to the local Iowa state benefits office. He may be a candidate for Medicaid where he can get medical treatment paid for. He can also inquire about disability. However, most disability offices are now set up so that they have their own physicians who do the evaluation and work with standards regarding what is disability and what is not.

There are a number of pharmaceutical company programs that offer to pay for insulin through a physician’s office. He needs a physician, and this might be one way he could get his insulin. Finally, he might benefit from consultation with a lawyer regarding disability and his financial situation. A number of state and local bar associations provide free legal services to those who have difficulty affording them.

JTL

[Editor’s comment: Also, see Financial Aid and Paying for diabetes expenses at the Diabetes Monitor.

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