Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ensure your Insurance? Crazy MS!!

Peep. Peep. Peep.

Well, as Diane mentioned in Multiple Sclerosis Worth Reading, I was mentioned in the latest Momentum Magazine from the National MS Society (Winter 08/09). The article is about planning for your future and my contribution deals with health insurance. I'm including my portion of the article below -

What's Ahead for You? Planning to Plan by Heather Boerner (pp. 24-30)

Excerpt from pages 26-27:

Planning to put money where your future is: insurance and savings

For Lisa Emrich, $325 a month is a small price to pay for ensuring her insurance.

That's how much she spends now on her individual health insurance. As a self-employed musician and music teacher, she was shopping for a policy that would pay for her MS needs. [MS drugs, specifically] Insurance brokers advised her to hold onto her current insurance for dear life. So even though she could have been added to her boyfriend's insurance policy when the couple moved in together, she said she's unlikely to let her own insurance go. You know, just in case.

"It's sort of an insurance policy for an insurance policy," said Emrich, 40, who lives in Washington, D.C. "If anything did happen--if he changed jobs--paying an extra $325 a month might be a good investment."

Since her diagnosis in 2005, Emrich has made several other good investments: She opened a Self-Employed Pension account and an Individual Retirement Account.

She's lucky. She's always been a good saver. But even if you don't have that advantage, you should still think about how you can protect yourself financially. Some people with MS work without much interruption in their earning power for decades. For others, sudden symptom progression leaves them without work--and without health insurance. For everyone, financial planning is one of the most important tools to protect against the unpredictable.

[Personal note: This insurance policy was obtained in 2000, years before receiving the official MS diagnosis. The policy was underwritten which explains why it doesn't cost over $500 as do other individual policies in the state do, if you have MS. See Mandy for an example.

In this article, "MS needs" really means "MS drugs." I like my insurance policy except that pesky detail which limits my coverage to $1500 each year for pharmaceuticals. Oh, and maybe the part where standard MRIs cost me a $500 co-insurance. But other than that, I'm good. I guess.

Oh, except that other part......]

Eventually, this edition of Momentum Magazine will be included here.


  1. I just read about a new program (here in Canada)for people to start similar to the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (same as a 401K in the states). It's a Registered Disability savings Plan but I haven't read enough about it to comment on it. Except to say that my RRSP IS my disability plan at the moment.
    I put any extra money I have into savings for "disability" and retirement.

  2. Lisa,

    You NEVER cease to amaze me in your ability to clearly articulate a point...thanks for always saying what's most important!

    Linda D. in Seattle

  3. Lisa--

    I was wondering why your comments sounded kinda glib. I kept thinking about your high copays and your issues with marginal prescription coverage. I guess the MS Society wants this article to be helpful and hopeful, but it kind of glosses over your problems with your insurance coverage. Yes, there's two sides to every story.

    I'm still glad that you got in there, though!


  4. I think it was primarily Heather, the author of the article, which wanted to present a 'cheery' piece for NMSS. Of all the discussion we had, covering SO MUCH financial REALITY of having MS, it amazed me that this was the portion she latched onto.

    Heather had forwarded my portion to factcheck and I made some suggestions since it really did read all goody-goody-gumdrops. However, the changes didn't make it into the version she submitted.

    Fortunately, the editor presented copy for final factchecking and I SPOKE UP. What Heather wrote doesn't address the problems at all which was unfortunate. Read the response I got when I responded to the factchecking -

    Thank you so much, Lisa, for following up. We will certainly make these changes. No one is really served by a story on this subject that is too facile. The problem is HUGE.

    Best regards,
    Martha King

    It's too bad that Heather didn't address head-on the grave seriousness of the situation.

  5. Braincheese it right... I come here for all the information you have!

  6. Sometimes you gotta wonder. I'm all for being optimistic and looking at the positive side of things. But it serves no one to gloss over the cold hard facts. The key is BALANCE.

    Good for you... for speaking up.