Applying for health plans for yourself or maybe your family? Would you be ok with a high deductible plan or perhaps one that just covered major medical? And, let’s say that you have been battling some itchy red spots on your body for awhile. The doctor says it Psoriasis. One day you notice that your joints at the ends of your fingers are really swollen and sore and don’t move too well. You and the famous golfer, Phil Mickelson, have something in common. It’s not your swing but it most likely is psoriatic arthritis. Hopefully you have existing insurance and were not just shopping around thinking about getting a health plan. The reason I say this is because you will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to become one of many Americans paying health insurance premiums every month if you are diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, “More than 100 forms of arthritis and related diseases exists affecting approximately 46 million Americans today.” Hard to believe, isn’t it? Arthritis has a common thread in that all 100 conditions all affect the musculoskeletal system and specifically the joints, wherever two or more bones meet. Joint problems related to arthritis include pain, stiffness, inflammation and damage to joint cartilage. Joint cartilage is a tough, smooth tissue that covers the ends of your bones, enabling them to glide against one another. Take a look at your own fingers. Look at your index finger and see where the knuckle joint is kind of in the middle of your finger? When you have arthritis the cartilage starts to degrade which leads to limited movement and pain.

The Arthritis Foundation reports that there are three type of Arthritis. They are:

1. Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a form of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease. In Rheumatoid arthritis the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues.

Fluid builds up in the joints causing pain in the joints and inflammation that’s systemic-meaning it can occur throughout the body.

2. Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage. Osteoarthritis can also damage ligaments, menisci and muscles. Osteoarthritis most often occurs in knees, hips, and hands. The shoulders may also be affected.

3. Juvenile Arthritis (JA) refers to any form of arthritis or an arthritis-related condition that develops in children or teenagers who are less that 18 years of age. One of the common symptoms of Juvenile arthritis is altered growth of bone and joints leading to short stature.