Facing the Fear of Losing Insurance Coverage for Dry Eye Treatment
With so many changes going on in the entire world, of course I have been faced with some myself. A big theme the second half of 2022 for everyone seemed to have been getting back to life after COVID. With this came learning to navigate life again with it and learning to adapt. This included many changes for everyone, myself included.
In addition to dealing with a severe family emergency and big challenge in my own life personally towards the end of the year, I also had quite a big scare when receiving information about changes to my own health insurance. This of course, includes my vision coverage.
Dealing with changes in insurance
Back in April, I got a letter that my vision insurance was changing. In the moment, I didn't think much of it. At least, not until I looked deeper into it later on, while choosing my insurance plan. During that time, I was calling all of my doctors to see if there would be any significant changes. I didn’t want to go through the arduous process of changing doctors unless it is absolutely necessary. And for once in my life, I can say I’m quite happy with all of my doctors. So, the thought of having to change them was extra anxiety inducing.
Facing the fear of losing help
One of the first offices I called was my eye doctor’s office. I was bordering on a panic attack as soon as I got on the phone. The receptionist explained that my insurance may not be covering medically necessary insurance lenses. Immediately, I felt my chest tightening and it was harder to breathe. Tears started to well up in my eyes. I asked her if that meant I’d no longer be able to get my scleral and daily lenses - both of which I depend on completely to see.
With my eye conditions - chronic dry eye being one of them - I can’t see well with glasses. I had severe trauma to one eye that resulted in corneal scarring, kerataconous, and astigmatism. This means my best option is a scleral lens, with which my vision can be corrected to 20/25. Without that lens, it is nowhere near. I am essentially legally blind in that eye. The receptionist was kind, and told me that nothing was final yet.
They were still trying to make an agreement with my insurance, as many patients were in the same place as me. I breathed out a sigh of relief knowing I wasn’t alone. Yet at the same time, I felt a pang in my chest knowing there were others who were facing the same fear as me. I immediately asked her if there was anything I could do, both for myself and others. Unfortunately, she said no, and that this has been ongoing for quite some time now. But she reassured me they would continue fighting for us to keep getting them covered.
The future is still uncertain, but there is hope on the horizon
As I write this, I honestly don’t know what the verdict was or will be yet. I was told that I can continue to see the same doctor nonetheless. This was very important to me as she was the only doctor that was able to help me with my eyes and vision. So, I decided not to change insurance and take a chance. And while there still may be a chance that next time I go to my eye appointment, my insurance refuses to pay for my lenses, I am hopeful that this will be resolved, if it hasn’t already. And if not, I am certainly prepared to fight for it for myself, as it is still likely there are other options for getting coverage.
Overall though, this was a horribly anxiety inducing experience. I can only hope that me and other patient leaders sharing our stories this way, can show others how important this is to us. We deserve to have help for our vision. Not only is our vision a precious thing, but it is a basic human need to be able to see, and to keep our eyes healthy as possible. I am hopeful that patients like myself can somehow continue getting the help we need – even if we have to fight extra hard for it.
Lately, has your dry eye led to more "diamond days" or "stone days"?
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