Easing the Financial Strain of FM

Thursday, June 21, 2007
By: Elisabeth Deffner
Reprinted from FMOnline


Everyone experiences money trouble at some point—but for people with FM, finances can pose a particular challenge. Many patients find themselves taking on additional expenses as their income is reduced because of an inability to work—a tough combination for any bank account to face.
Here FM patients share their top tips for beating the financial strain of FM.

Check for discounts and rebates on medications. “Every prescription that … a member of my family uses, I go to the site of the drug and/or manufacturer and see if there is a rebate,” says Lyn McCarthy. “I have insurance, but with a co-pay—and these rebate checks come in handy.” Many pharmaceutical companies and other organizations also offer discounted prices on prescription medications. Check out these sites for more information:

  • Needy Meds: www.needymeds.com/
  • Partnership for Prescription Assistance: www.pparx.or/ (Search for prescription assistance programs by state)
  • LillyCares: (800) 545-6962 (Program of Eli Lilly to help indigent patients without insurance. Requires no fees.)
  • Together RX Access: www.togetherrxaccess.com/ (Patient assistance program for those who do not have drug coverage)
  • AstraZeneca Foundation Patient Assistance Program: www.astrazeneca-us.com/drugassist
  • Bridges to Access: http://bridgestoaccess.gsk.com/ (Provides GlaxoSmithKline medications free to patients for minimal fee.)
  • The Medicine Program: www.themedicineprogram.com/
  • Novartis: (800) 277-2254
  • RxHope: www.rxhope.com/
  • Helping Patients: www.helpingpatients.org/
  • Lawson Healthcare Foundation: www.a2zmedline.com/
  • Look into programs offered by federal agencies. “FEMA makes money available to states for non-catastrophe related financial difficulties,” Fred Bortz points out. For more information, go to www.efsp.unitedway.org/

  • Take advantage of simplification strategies. Marcellyn Fowler recalls her struggle to organize bill payments while she was working full-time—an “arduous chore.” When her bank first offered online banking, she decided to give it a try. “It is one of the best decisions I ever made,” she says. “With the advancement of technology and popularity of the internet, the opportunities available through online banking have increased to the point [where] I am, once again, in charge of my finances.” Automatic deposit of your paycheck, Social Security check, or other regular income can likewise simplify things—you can’t forget to deposit a check if it’s already in your account!

    Honor your food budget. A healthy diet can be positively impact your FM symptoms, so establish some healthy, easy-to-prepare recipes, write a shopping list, and stick to the list without tossing junk food items in your cart. Collect coupons and pay attention to sales. Check your neighborhood to see if there are any grocery or meal co-ops you can join.

    Communicate with your utilities companies. If you are on a limited income, you may be able to take advantage of lower cost plans available from your phone or electric company. Karen Rackeweg participates in her power company’s budget plan. “They average my yearly consumption of natural gas and electricity, and bill me 1/12 of that per month, with quarterly adjustments as needed,” she explains.”No dramatic highs and lows, and I can budget accordingly.

    Keep your eyes open for unique money-earning opportunities. Previous editions of this newsletter have offered ideas about fibro-friendly jobs. Kathy Fischer does online surveys, tests products, rates samples, and participates in focus groups. She finds opportunities by visiting www.craigslist.com/, clicking on her region of the country, and then clicking on “Etc.” or “Part-time.” She finds other opportunities at: