A comprehensive multiple sclerosis (MS) care team typically consists of a neurologist and a variety of other health care providers who can work together to help people manage the disease. Visiting medical professionals in the U.S. usually requires health insurance, and since many people with MS leave the workforce, insurance coverage may not remain stable for everyone with the condition.
To investigate the breadth of insurance coverage in the MS community, researchers issued a survey to individuals with the condition between the ages of 18 and 65 who were registered with iConquerMS, the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis, or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Minority Advisory Council. Approximately 2,500 people completed the survey, 83 percent of whom were female. The average age of participants was 53.5 years old and the mean duration since their MS diagnoses was 16.4 years.
The study authors found that 96.3 percent of participants had health insurance and 58.8 percent had life insurance. However, they discovered that just 9.7 percent of survey respondents had long-term care insurance, 18.1 percent had short-term disability income insurance, and 26.6 percent had private long-term disability income insurance.
Of note, the researchers found that the majority of study participants obtained their existing insurance plans after receiving an MS diagnosis, dispelling a common myth that insurance is impossible to obtain following diagnosis.
“This study highlights the importance of becoming informed about coverage options, particularly after an MS diagnosis,” the National Multiple Sclerosis Society wrote in an analysis of the survey results.