How chronic illness affects my geographical living choices

Last year I thought I might not be getting disability payments, and I was looking at cheaper places to live (in case I did get social security payments and could maybe avoid moving in with my parents.) It was the first time I realized just how limited

Boston Public Garden with part of the Boston skyline

Boston Public Garden with part of the Boston skyline

I was, but not for the expected reasons.

I know that some of my living choices will be made based on climate – if I have a choice, that is. Several years ago I considered moving out of state. That plan was squashed when I got sick and needed to stay near my support network, etc. Still, I remember looking for a place that got decent sunshine in the winter, so my seasonal affective disorder wouldn’t be triggered too much. I also wanted a place that didn’t get hot or humid in the summer, since that makes me incredibly ill. It’s hard to find someplace that meets all of those needs, aside from southern California which I’d already tried. I wasn’t thrilled to have to base a lot of my choice on my how my body reacts to different climates, but that’s just how my life is, and I accept it.

But the other geographical limitation is one I don’t accept. Actually, it really pisses me off. I live in the Boston area, which is unfortunately one of the most expensive parts of the country. Social security doesn’t correlate with cost of living, and so my payments just wouldn’t be enough to stay in the same area. That’s why when I worried about money last year, I considered moving a bit farther away from the city. That’s why I’ve been looking this week at what my options for the future might be. I didn’t, and don’t, want to switch doctors or be too far from my family and friends, but I figured I could manage 45 minutes to an hour. The cheapest places north of the city were in New Hampshire. There were some decent ones to the west. The best to the south were in Rhode Island. And east is the ocean, so that’s out. Most of the decent choice were in New Hampshire or Rhode Island, and I think I could be happy in either place. But even though they were closer to my current spot than many other parts of Massachusetts, I couldn’t move there because of health¬†insurance!!! Yup, my health insurance would be a problem.

Back then, and possibly again in the future, I was on MassHealth. That’s our state medicaid. I was very grateful for this. The thing is, I have to be living in MA in order to be eligible for it. If I moved, I wouldn’t be eligible anymore. Maybe I’d be eligible for another state’s medicaid, but then I wouldn’t be able to see my doctors in MA. It wouldn’t matter if they were 5 minutes or 5 hours away, if they were in another state, insurance wouldn’t cover them. I’d be allowed to pay out of pocket, of course, but that would defeat the entire purpose of moving far away to save money on rent and other expenses.

This really pisses me off. There’s been a lot of talk by politicians about letting health insurance cross state lines, but nothing at all has come of it. Plus, they’re only talking about private health insurance. What about medicaid? I’m sure there aren’t a ton of people affected by this, but I can’t be the only one. There must be so many people who live near state borders and who would rather see a doctor in the other state, if only their health insurance would pay for it.

Medicaid is there to make sure people who need it can get good healthcare without going broke, essentially. Well, what if the good healthcare is across the state line? Then what?

Listen up politicians: We Deserve Better!

3 Responses to How chronic illness affects my geographical living choices

  1. How sad that you can’t move wherever you want to or need to because you have to stay within your insurance policy’s geographical boundaries. I myself am contemplating doing a post on the fact that I just got a notice from my health insurer saying that the plan my employer currently provides is being discontinued and that the replacement plan will entail out-of-pocket costs in such an outrageous amount that I may have to discontinue my treatments (which are the only thing keeping me out of the hospital). If I do write a post blasting the insurance people, may I include a link to this post of yours?

    • chronicrants says:

      I’m so sorry to hear that CM! If you’re on medications, have you tried contacting the pharma companies directly? Sometimes they have hidden financial assistance programs. Or maybe a nonprofit or foundation can help? I really hope you can find a way to continue your treatments! And yes, of course you can link to any of my posts.

      • I’ll wait until early in the new year to see what my company intends to do about it. Hopefully, they will choose a plan that still makes it feasible for me to follow the current treatment plan.
        I’m thinking I’ll do a post in late January or early February, just so you know.

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