Pain in the Pocket: Fibromyalgia Is Expensive

Pain in the Pocket: Fibromyalgia Is Expensive
People commonly talk about the physical costs of having fibromyalgia. Seldom is the monetary cost discussed. The other day, I began to calculate how much better off I’d be financially if I hadn’t had this illness. I was staggered by the answer. During a period of time in my 40s that I categorize as a “remission,” I was able to finish my college education. Because my employer paid tuition benefits, I was able to attend classes at night. (I can’t even remember having enough energy to do such a thing!) I had completed my bachelor’s degree and was nearing the end of an MBA program when my husband suddenly died of a heart attack. Overwhelming grief prevented me from continuing my studies, which is a major regret all these years later. The bright spot was that the education I did receive qualified me for various job openings within the company, eventually elevating me from my original administrative assistant position to that of a financial analyst. Over time, the stress of this very responsible position, along with the worsening of my symptoms — it’s difficult to say which came first — resulted in me filing for disability. I’d paid into the private disability plan offered by my employer, in addition to qualifying for Social Security disability, so I had no financial worries. All that changed two years later, when the private insurance company declared that fibromyalgia was a psychological rather than physical illness. As such, benefits were payable for only two years. The two years were over. In a flash, my security was gone. Of course, I hired an attorney to fight my case, and then a second one to handle the litigation. Eventually, I won; however, winning isn’t always profitable. My share of the settlement (after attorney’s fees and taxes
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2 comments

  1. Marsha A. Rodriguez says:

    Christine,
    Your article made my day! Wow do I appreciate that you shared the same nightmare I had to fight with my Long Term (Short Term) disability provider.
    I made the mistake of choosing not to go to college & straight to work at the age of 17. My career turned out great due to being a baby boomer, when without a college degree you good still get promotions. Of course I never reached the level you attained, still I loved my job’s. I was a credit manager for several companies most of my working life until I was offered the Human Resources manager position at my last employer. I loved the job, it was long hours, bringing work home going in on the weekends so I catch up with no interruptions. It was never a 40 hr per week job most jobs aren’t in our business world. Then my life started to crash with fibromyalgia. It took a long time to get the diagnosis & crazy as it sounds I was relieved to have an answer until the unknown nightmare began. I live in the Central Valley of California & there was almost zero information on fibromyalgia. I spent tons of money on so called Fibro experts, bogus supplements etc.
    The harder I tried to keep up with my job the further I sank. My PCP put me on a limited 20 hours per week for my job. I knew that was not feasible & then I got an emailed from one of my bosses which was devastating. It was suggested that I take advantage of the LTD policy provided by my employer due to a serious mistake I made that was very costly. The person who was responsible lied to save his job.
    I know it is proper business to not maintain contact with former employees especially when a disability is i involved my problem was I took it personally.
    The LTD company fought me from day one, they didn’t want to pay period. So like you even through I submitted results from three Dr’s that I was permanently disabled it didn’t matter. So instead of getting 2/3 of my salary until age 66 I got 2 years based on exclusions they had for every single symptom. I couldn’t afford an attorney, tried to get one on a contingency basis. The financial blow was horrible plus I had to pay for health insurance. The emotional trauma was the worst part. The bright event was that I was approved for SSDI my first try. According to others Fibro-ites this was unheard of for SSDI.
    I appealed my LTD when they cut me off after 2 years, the reply I received stated:
    “Our Doctor has determined that there is no medical reason why you can’t sit in a chair 40 hours a week.” At least I was able to laugh at the stupidity of the denial. What is the purpose in having LTD policy’s?
    Sorry this is so long
    Thank you

  2. Christine Lynch says:

    I just love this publication because of its ability to create a sense of sharing with its readers. It has given me the opportunity to hear from someone who shared the same battle that I did. I’m so sorry you had to go through the same nightmare. But I thank you so much for telling me. I feel so much less alone.

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