Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Summer 2013, Issue 9 - Page 13

Personal Advocacy that shows the full picture of how your illness impacts your life. For example, if you say you are feeling “better,” your treatment provider needs to clarify the level you were at before – and preferably quantify what feeling better means for your functional ability. It certainly doesn’t mean you are cured of your disease, which is how insurance companies often construe the statement. Side effects of medications and therapies should also be fully discussed. ou might have had your claim denied because the insurance company perceives your symptoms to be excessive. For those who are not knowledgeable about fibromyalgia or chronic pain, symptoms of your disease might sound excessive. Because most of your symptoms are self-repor ted, cannot be easily obser ved by others, and cannot be measured with tests or machines, it is impor tant to be consistent with doctor visits and the application of recommended medications and therapies. This will lend credibility to the severity and reality of the symptoms. Your doctor ’s notes and diagnosis then become consistent with your repor ted symptoms and will ser ve as evidence for your insurance claim. hat does it mean when your insurance company determines that your activity level is inconsistent with your level of impairment? Insurance companies will take advantage of any gaps in information or inconsistencies within your claim. Be as thorough as possible so that you If you say you are feeling “better,” your treatment provider needs to clarify the level you were at before – and preferably quantify what feeling better means for your functional ability. Y can transmit the full picture to the insurance company, and do so in writing. Do not be afraid to document ever y thing in writing or to keep an activity journal. Explain in detail how long it took you to complete a task , how difficult it was for you, the assistance you needed to accomplish a task , or any other modification from how you used to per form the task. W hen completing forms provided to you, do not feel constrained by them. Feel free to amend them for clarity or write more than the space on a form allows. ecord all the difficulties you are having , but do not exag gerate. For example, say you check a box on a form say ing you are able to drive. This does not tell the insurance company that you only drive a mile down the road once a week and before taking your medications to do your banking. On its face, without this W R information, an insurance company may misunderstand or even doubt your level of impairment. Thus, make the effor t to explain the modifications in your ability to drive…and all of your other limitations. ealing with invisible pain can be exhausting and frustrating. W hen your insurance company denies benefits, it intensifies an already challenging condition. Keep in mind that being open about your illness with your physician, family, and close friends will create proof of your repor ted symptoms and make it harder for the insurance company to deny your claim. We understand that yo \[X\H\[Hۈ[\X[[[Z[]\[[Y[[H]H܈H[Y]X[H\H[]Y X[ZX\[܈]]˚[ܛ]˛] [[Y\ LX^X[XH ۚXZ[Yx L