Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Share the Love for Quinn: Dollars and Sense

We've wanted to share a little bit about various aspects of having a family member with a chronic illness and one additional element in our household is that we have two chronic illnesses. Ryan is a Type 1 Diabetic. Diagnosed when he was 8, he has had years of taking shots of insulin and for the last 8 years he has had an insulin pump. Ryan has a unique take on living with a chronic illness and the changes that have happened over the years because of research and medicine. That is exciting! Both Ryan and Quinn need specific medications, medical equipment, doctors' appointments, and high quality self-care...and all of those things typically come with a price tag.

If you think about your family budget, you can see percentages that you attach to certain categories. Maybe 40% goes to housing payments, 10% goes to tithes or donations, maybe 20% goes to auto and gas, or 20% goes to school loans each month. However your budget breaks down, it is different from family to family.

For our family budget, 20% goes to medical expenses. We would say that we have good insurance. But everything is expensive! One medication we use during one of Quinn's breathing treatments is $5195.04 for a three month supply--we only pay a $70 co-pay. The enzymes, called Creon 12, which Quinn takes any time he is going to eat are $1559.27 for a one month supply and again we only pay the co-pay.

If we did not have insurance, as is sometimes the case for individuals with chronic illness, there is worry about how to pay for anything on top of the issue of already having the illness. The vest that Quinn recently got for his Chest Percussion Therapy session was over $14,000. Because of insurance we only paid $567. And still, 20% of our budget goes to medical expenses.

We work with six different pharmacies and two medical supply companies. We received shipments of supplies from UPS, FedEx, and a local delivery service multiple times each month. Ryan got a pair of shoes in the mail last week and I had assumed that the box was more medical supplies. At least the shoes were a fun treat! :) I've learned a lot about insurance and, overall, have had pretty good experiences with insurance agents. I've learned more about tax deductions and percentage of income and what you can actually deduct related to medical expenses.

On our journey I'm thankful for the jobs we've had, the insurance we've had, for the "benevolent benefactors" in our lives who have generously given to us from their own resources, and for opportunities we've had to receive excellent health care. My sense is that we have much to be thankful for--a warm house, food in the refrigerator, a hot shower, doctors within walking and driving distance, clean water, clean clothes--it is a luxury in the world to have your own washer and dryer, and medicine.

Sometimes I get tired of thinking about money and sending money to the various companies or hospitals.
While I wish we didn't have to spend any money on medical expenses, I am thankful that we have access to the medicine we need. And the research that is being done about CF is important and has already improved the quality of life for people with CF so much. And I believe that there will be more discoveries soon!

Please consider donating to Team Win with Quinn--all money goes towards research to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

1 comment:

Raegan said...

This is what I have learned with having two hard-of-hearing people in my house . . . hearing aid batteries count as a medical deduction on my tax return :) When I accepted my position one of the sweet God provisions I discovered is hearing aid coverage for dependant minors as a part of our insurance plan. Many workers in the industry are flabergasted because hearing aids (much like glasses many years ago) are considered a "quality of life" issue and therefore unnecessary. Whoever thinks that hearing is about "quality of life" needs to live with someone that can't hear you, ha! It warms my heart to know that our big God is working on the "little" things.