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Family struggles to cover ill daughter's medical bills

For one family with a teenage daughter, medical bills are anything but simple. The now 16-year-old was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder as a 5-year-old. Treatments for her various medical issues have been difficult on the entire family.

This girl's father explains that there has been one health issue after another. While his daughter's symptoms of Tourettes and obsessive-compulsive disorder improve with medication, the medication itself has brought on additional issues. The medication led to weight gain and teasing at school, which led his daughter to develop a life-threatening case of anorexia. As a result of her anorexia, she developed a gastrointestinal disorder.

While this family has good health insurance, covering just the co-pay can be challenging when there are so many expensive medical visits. The father explains that though their health insurance policy covers 80 percent of medical costs, covering 20 percent of a $200,000 bill is extremely difficult and has strained their family's finances.

Many other families have surely encountered similar difficulties paying for medical care for their children who suffer from a long-term illness, whether it is physical or mental. This family has applied for and been denied multiple forms of assistance, including Social Security, disability, and Medicaid.

Other families facing overwhelming medical bills like this family may want to look into applying for benefits. Even if one's claim is denied, there is the possibility of appealing the denied claim. Medical care for one's ill child is critical; struggling to pay for a child's healthcare can be overwhelming and painful. To avoid complete financial devastation, seeking assistance by applying for Social Security disability benefits may be very beneficial.

Source: ABC News, "Medical bills bankrupt families of mentally ill children," Susan Donaldson James, Feb. 18, 2013

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