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Melissa Martin, diagnosed in 2009

“I put off my wedding because of fear of losing access to health coverage. 
I’ve been uninsured before and went off DMT due to cost—and my MS relapsed including six months of blindness. I fear risking that again.”

~Christine, diagnosed in 2002

Christine, 37, is newly married and living with her husband, Jerry, and their four children ages 9-16. Christine and Jerry postponed their wedding for three years because they feared disrupting Christine’s health insurance coverage. Both are self-employed; individual coverage (through the Marketplace) is expensive and it’s unlikely that Tecfidera will be on the formulary.

Christine has no savings, and drives an old minivan that she says is “on its last legs, potentially dangerous,” because the family cannot afford a newer vehicle. She says, “Fun things for the kids, trips, etc.—we don’t do it. We’re strapped and fearful that we’re not going to have the money that we need to care for me and my meds, MRI, doctor visits and more.”

“What if I can’t afford my meds? What if I have a relapse? I’m so fearful of the unknown.”

Life / MS

  • Age 37, diagnosed in 2002, RRMS
  • Symptoms include severe fatigue, numbness and tingling, and optic neuritis
  • Metropolitan home in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Christine is unable to maintain consistent employment due to symptoms so started her own business for the flexibility in workload and schedule
  • Christine navigates MS doctor visits, tests, treatment, insurance and costs

Doctor / Treatment

  • MS-specialized neurologist within 10-minute drive; knowledgeable about MS DMTs
  • Christine takes Tecfidera (Biogen) oral 2x/day

Insurance / Expense/ Assistance

  • Currently Medicaid – nominal out of pocket
  • Christine is looking into Marketplace coverage, costs TBD

Harmful Impact

  • Postponed wedding for three years
  • Living in fear of going off DMT (due to unaffordability) and relapsing/blindnes


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