Bipolar Disorder with no Health Care Insurance: What are my options?
- Contact your local NAMI or DBSA and see if they resources for local organizations that help those without insurance. Here are their web addresses www.nami.org and www.dbsalliance.org. If you live in a larger city- there are often branches in your area.
- Check to see if your state has a low income insurance plan. Often they are full- but if you get on the wait list for the future, there is a chance.
- Ask everyone you know if there is a free clinic- low income clinic or a teaching hospital where you can get help. I also suggest calling a hospital psych department- they usually have a lot of information.
- Visit www.moodgarden.org for peer support. There are probably many there who can offer advice.
- Let your health care professional know you don’t have insurance and ask them about any prescription assistance that may be available to you. You can also research this on your own by visiting www.needymeds.org. Almost all drug companies have drug assistance programs- you can go to their main site for more information. Pharmacies such as in Wal-Mart offer generics for as little as $4. Here is a PDF link to the bipolar disorder medications they cover. It’s a much longer list than you might expect! http://i.walmartimages.com/i/if/hmp/fusion/customer_list.pdf
- Work as a team. You both have to learn to manage the triggers that lead to bipolar disorder symptoms. You can do this through my books, exercising together, working on relationship skills and talking in the most positive and hopeful terms possible. Bipolar disorder is an illness that affects a person’s ability to manage their emotions- the better you two communicate with each other- the less mood swings for your partner! My book Get it Done When You’re Depressed: 50 Strategies for Keeping Your Life on Track is very action oriented- there are many ideas in Get it Done When You’re Depressed that you can use together. My book Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder: A Four Step Plan for You and Your Loved Ones to Manage the Illness and Create Lasting Stability is oriented towards the person with the illness, but there are many tips for partners in there as well. Both books are available in stores, online and in the library.
- Visit the bipolarhappens.com blog at www.bipolarhappens.com/bhblog. There is a relationships category on the right. I also talk extensively about how to manage the illness throughout the blog.
- A person’s ability to manage the illness on their own and with the help of others is far, far more important than only relying on medications.
- Reduce symptoms as much as possible so that you need fewer doctor visits and less bipolar disorder medications. I know that when I practice what I teach in my Health Cards Treatment System for Bipolar Disorder I need less anxiety or anti psychotic meds, etc. Taking care of myself also means I don’t have to rely on my Lamictal (generic Lamotrigine) as much. You can read about the Health Cards at www.bipolarhappens.com – and yes, there are variable rates for people who need financial help purchasing the treatment plan.
- And most importantly, read my book Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner. For the cost of a dinner out, this book will give you all of the tools you need to manage the illness as a couple. Of course, it’s better if you can do it with bipolar disorder medications as well- but I know from experience that this book can cut symptoms by as much as half and it saves relationships as well! This was one of the top selling bipolar disorder books in the world last year. It’s also available in most US libraries- if not, you can request that they order it. If you go to a book store and read the chapter The Bipolar Conversation- you can learn more in a few minutes on how to manage the illness than you ever thought possible!