Representatives in Congress: Chambliss/Isakson/Deal

Health Care Issues
✔ Denied Health Coverage
✔ High Out-of-Pocket Costs
✔ Medical Debt
✔ Unmet Health Care Needs
✔ Delayed Care
✔ Employment
Arthritis Advocate: Aimee B.
Dawsonville, GA

I currently have health coverage under my husband's plan, but three years ago, when we relocated from Florida to Georgia, both of us were unemployed for three months. During that time, he was able to get interim coverage for himself and our daughter, but I was denied. We had to pay an exorbitant amount of money for me to be covered by COBRA.

I take a total of 10 prescription medicines each month, each of which has a tier-level co-pay, totaling about $350.00 a month for prescriptions alone. My annual deductible of $500 hits within the first few months of each year due one procedure or another.
After each of my 10 surgeries for arthritis, our medical debt has grown from year to year. We establish payment plans with hospitals and other health care providers, and as soon as one is paid, another procedure is scheduled and the cycle begins again. This is one of the difficulties of living with chronic illness.
In the past, I have foregone my Enbrel and other medications due to high cost, as well as certain tests and procedures. I put off visiting a physical and/or occupational therapist due to high weekly cost of each visit. I have only undergone a prescribed treatment when recovering from any of my major joint replacements. In those cases, I do not have a choice, so we cut back in other areas of our monthly budget. Other than my rheumatologist, I have put off visiting other doctors, because I can only afford my monthly rheumatologist visit.

I want to continue teaching, although I am finding it increasingly difficult. I know I will have to go on disability in the near future. Living with six joint replacements and severe rheumatoid arthritis makes it very difficult to maintain employment.

Aimee B. with Rep. DealAimee B. with Sen. Isakson
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