A new study has found that even when they have private financial coverage, many multiple sclerosis patients struggle to pay for medical care and medications. The study, which was led by Drs. Lisa Iezzoni and Long Ngo of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), was commissioned by the National MS Society and published an online release of the journal Multiple Sclerosis. To conduct the study, researchers did phone interviews with 983 MS patients across the U.S., most of whom were female, white, married or partnered, college educated and unemployed. One-half had MS for more than ten years, and about three quarters had relapsing-remitting MS.
While nearly all of the respondents said that they had at least some health insurance, 40 percent were covered by public health insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid. Despite these high rates of insurance coverage, a large proportion of respondents said they were experiencing high levels of stress and problems affording medications and clinical care. Almost half (21 percent) said that they had had to make major changes in their life to pay for care, including spending less on food, heat and other necessities, or failing to fill prescriptions and skipping doses of medicine.
To learn more about MS's financial impact:
- read this BIDMC press release