Insurance Problems for Those with Incontinence

Jasmine Schmidt Health Guide
  • What boils your blood? How about insurance refusing to cover absorbent products for incontinence because they are considered a “medical convenience?"

    A reader of this blog asked me about insurance after being turned down by his insurance company for this basic necessity. It appears that not only is this cost not covered by insurance, but for many years it also isn’t viewed as a legitimate medical expense by the IRS for tax purposes! I’m unclear as the tax status of incontinence products at this point – it’s proving very difficult to find a straight answer (if you know it, please email me!)

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    In addition to being a financial burden, this attitude certainly doesn’t do anything to squelch the stigma surrounding this medical condition. How is the general public supposed to take incontinence seriously when the U.S. government doesn’t? What is the problem here – ignorance? small-mindedness? Living with incontinence when no available treatment option works, and then being told that using absorbent products is a “medical convenience” is truly adding insult to injury.


    I urge you to take up this issue by writing to your insurance company, as well as your elected officials, to ask them to take note of this problem. Never underestimate the power of a grass-roots campaign. I recently volunteered with an effort called the Sudan Freedom Walk in Chicago. With a small group of people with limited resources we managed to gather over 300 people to march through the streets of Chicago and raise over $10,000 to help rebuild the country of Sudan after they experienced nearly 50 years of civil wars. Our letter-writing campaign resulted in letters of support from four Illinois elected officials.


    You can’t solve every problem in the world, but you can take some small step in the right direction when you learn about an issue that you believe in. If everyone takes one small step together, we’ll all get there a lot faster. Remember the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Published On: May 23, 2007