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Founder of online Fibromyalgia support group details life with Fibromyalgia, insurance companies
Monday 21 May 2012
Founder of online fibromyalgia support group details life with fibromyalgia, insurance companies
From co-pays to out-of-pocket costs, health expenses for those with chronic medical conditions add up and can take an enormous toll on one’s budget. But when a loved one is diagnosed with fibromyalgia, he or she faces a much greater health insurance problem: getting insurance companies to cover doctor’s visits, tests, medication and treatments in the first place.
“The fight with insurance companies is an unwelcome part of living with fibromyalgia,” explains John Obenchain, founder of the online fibromyalgia support group the Alliance Against All Fibromyalgias (AAAFMS).
Fibromyalgia isn’t officially classified as a “disease,” and this technicality enables many insurance companies to consider certain much needed medications, treatments and tests to be “out of scope.”
Obenchain’s wife Sandra was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2001; since then, the family has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums, co-pays and out-of-pocket costs in an effort to treat her fibromyalgia.
“Sadly, like many of those who live with the challenges of fibromyalgia, it’s difficult for my wife to get people to take her seriously. She has often been dismissed as crazy by those who don’t believe, or understand her symptoms,” Obenchain says. “Often, it’s easier for folks, including doctors, lawyers and insurance agents, as well as family and friends, to simply presume that her symptoms are ‘all in her head’.”
Obenchain knows that he and his wife Sandra aren’t the only ones facing this uphill battle. So he founded the Alliance Against All Fibromyalgias (AAAFMS) as an online fibromyalgia support group for those affected by fibromyalgia and caregivers.
He witnessed how fibromyalgia wreaked havoc on the otherwise normal life he, his wife and two children previously enjoyed. The knowledge that there were others out there suffering just like his family, gave him the inspiration to create a virtual network, enabling those affected to share stories, advice, questions and answers.
“My wife’s condition has really shown me how important it is for the world to recognize fibromyalgia as a legitimate disease,” Obenchain says. “Without this official recognition, those affected will continue to live in pain and isolation, be subjected to unfair judgments, and face recurring battles with their insurance companies – if indeed they can find health insurance in the first place.”
The concerned husband hopes his crusade for those with fibromyalgia and their family members will ease the pain of living with this condition. By providing advice, or even just a virtual shoulder to cry on, he knows that the AAAFMS online support group for fibromyalgia can ease some of the pain and confusion surrounding this terrible medical condition.
About John Obenchain and the Alliance Against All Fibromyalgias: John Obenchain has been married to his wife Sandra for over 11 years. Together, they have faced her fibromyalgia diagnosis head on. As primary caregiver and head of the household, Obenchain has seen just how drastically fibromyalgia not only affects the patient, but the entire family. He started the Alliance Against All Fibromyalgias (AAAFMS) to help with fibromyalgia as well as help caregivers, families, friends, doctors, government policy makers and health care professionals. The free, open forum allows participants to ask questions, offer advice, share stories, and find comfort from others who may be going through similar situations with fibromyalgia. Obenchain, who has a master’s in business administration, has worked in the global pharmaceutical industry for over 15 years and is a professional public speaker registered with the National Speakers Association (NSA).
The above originally appeared here.
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