Seeking lyme disease financial assistance can be difficult for many individuals as it is considered a rare disease. In Australia, there a large number of reported cases of lyme disease. Despite this, many people in Australia however, have not heard of lyme disease. This is because of the smaller number of cases as compared to other diseases and conditions in Australia.
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. Lyme disease can also incur ongoing medication costs, where on average, Australian patients are required to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars monthly.
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.
In Australia, the cost of medication to treat lyme disease is expensive. Medication is often required daily, up to 32 tablets as well as 3 injections per day. Patients have experienced paying hundreds to thousands of dollars per month. 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. The long term costs can be difficult for patients to overcome
Lyme Disease Financial Assistance Options
Patients who require financial assistance to help cover their monthly and ongoing medical expenses or individuals who seek overseas treatment to cure lyme disease, can find that financial assistance can be somewhat limiting in Australia. Due to the incidences of lyme disease being considered low compared to other illnesses and diseases in Australia, patients with lyme disease will have limited financial assistance options.
Government Financial Assistance
Patients who are unable to work due to their severity of lyme disease may be eligible for financial assistance under Centrelink. This is because when you have lyme disease, you often will be diagnosed with other conditions and diseases. For example chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain disorder or diabetes. Individuals must meet the eligible requirements before being able to successfully receive an ongoing allowance.
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. In fact, of the few that exist, many provide information and conduct research to help bring awareness of lyme disease in Australia.
Lyme Disease Association of Australia for example, is one of the well-known lyme disease organisations in Australia. However, their mission is not to provide financial assistance but rather collect valuable research on the disease.
Unfortunately for many families who are struggling with medical debt due to lyme disease medical expenses, there are no other options from non-profit organizations in Australia for financial assistance.
Patients can try seeking assistance from general health related non-profit organizations that can provide non-monetary support and assistance. This could be particularly useful for patients with multiple conditions and diseases. These 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