It may seem like only yesterday, but it’s been nearly 20 years since insurers began accepting fibromyalgia as a debilitating condition that would justify payment of long term disability benefits. But let’s not act like insurers had a sudden, altrusitic epiphany and decided to support claimants suffering from this condition. That would be revisionist history at its greatest. Instead, insurers fought tooth and nail to prove that those suffering from fibromyalgia were either making their conditions up or had psychological problems.
Is it a coincidence that fibromyalgia became a regularly accepted condition after Pfizer introduced a drug (Lyrica) that could treat its symptoms? It’s a question worth debating; but consider this: if drug manufacturers were making money of treating fibromyalgia, chances are that insurers would be compelled to see it a legitimate condition. But this does not prevent insurers from being ridiculously skeptical about other conditions with the same characteristics.
A perfect example is Lyme disease. People suffering this condition have the same difficulties proving that they are legitimately debilitated. This is partly due to insurers relying on medical reviewers that will testify that Lyme disease is “not a real disease” in order to deny claimants benefits.
Fortunately, there is growing medical literature supporting the existence of Lyme disease. It has even become a subject of pop culture debate after Yolanda Foster from “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” endured it for over a year. Unfortunately, until a major drug manufacturer releases a drug to remedy the ailments of Lyme disease, chances are that insurers will ignore legitimate claims based on this condition.