Brain injury patients struggle to get help

Alabama residents who have family members with brain injuries may discover that insurance providers are less than helpful when it comes to paying for medical treatments and rehabilitation. Playing sports and being involved in car crashes are leading causes of brain injuries, and in the United States, there are approximately 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries every year. 90,000 of those are severe enough to require long-term disability.

Cognitive rehabilitation is a common treatment prescribed by doctors for those who have brain injuries, and their goal is to retrain people's brains so that they can restore brain power lost in an injury. However, many of these treatment plans go beyond what insurance companies are willing to pay for. This has led to many families seeing coverage ending just as progress is starting. That said, insurance companies do not always have an easy choice. There are some instances where a patient has plateaued, and evidence about what works best to is not always conclusive.

A study done by the U.S. Institute of Medicine in 2011 concluded that people with severe brain injuries often only receive incomplete rehabilitation, and this is frequently due to limitations of payer plans. There is also some urgency related to the time frame that patients receive care because most of the progress made by patients with brain injuries occurs in the first 18 to 24 months. Wrangling with an insurance company could cause this time frame to slip by.

If someone has suffered from a brain injury due to someone else's carelessness or negligence, they may have legal recourse. A lawyer may be able to assist those who decide to pursue compensation for medical bills and related expenses, possibly increasing the chances that people receive the medical care they need.

Source: 23 ABC, "Brain injury patients fight for therapy time and money", Jeremy Olson, August 19, 2013

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