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The Cost of Mesothelioma and Health Insurance

May 21st, 2009

Mesothelioma and health insurance

Image taken from Wallae.com

Whether you are retired, working in public work, or self-employed, it’s likely that you hope never to have an illness that will take all of your savings. A devastating illness, such as mesothelioma does change one’s life. You can live a long time with the disease, but it gets worse with time. The sad thing is, chances are you had been receiving health care for this disease a long time before it was discovered  and you probably paid a good deal of out of pocket costs . The cost of mesothelioma and health insurance should not be two separate issues , but rather health insurance should cover you disease
Asbestos fibers are shaped like fishhooks. With mesothelioma, the fibers are inhaled and they become embedded within the lining of the respiratory tract. The early symptoms resemble respiratory infections. Many of the people seek health care for respiratory infections. The doctors often misdiagnose because the true evidence of mesothelioma does not surface until many years later. The patient may go to his/her doctor several times for treatment. After a number of visits for the same complaint, the doctor may order a chest X-ray. Once the X-ray is read by the radiologist, a tentative diagnosis of mesothelioma could be made. Health care costs begin to rise as biopsies and other diagnostic tests are done to confirm or rule out the diagnosis of mesothelioma.
If you are self-employed, your insurance for the self-employed cannot be canceled if you had not been diagnosed and treated for mesothelioma prior to having the policy in place. If you still work in public work, your group health insurance cannot drop you. The same is true if you are retired and receiving Medicare.
Health care in the form of treatments is costly and so is palliative for end stage mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a disease that becomes more expensive the longer you live. Even after your health insurance pays its part, you may be left with an astronomical sum of money to pay. If you work a job and have health coverage at work, or you are self-employed and have health insurance for the self-employed, your coverage may not pay 100 percent of your medical costs.
Most people with pleural mesothelioma were exposed to asbestos 3 to 4 decades ago. Some victims cannot sufficiently proof when and where exposure to the fibers originated. Because of the high cost of lawsuits many employers don’t want to assume responsibility for the employee being exposed to asbestos. Health insurance companies, including health insurance for self-employed people will pay for the treatment of mesothelioma, but it may not cover all of the expense.
It is not advisable to drop health coverage in search of a better health insurance plan after being diagnosed with mesothelioma. Most insurance companies, including health insurance for the self-employed may declare you uninsurable. No matter how high you think your premiums are, you will need to stick with the plan you have in place.
Approximately 2,000 people are diagnosed every year with pleural mesothelioma. The cost of mesothelioma treatment and other devastating conditions drives up the cost of health insurance for everyone. Because health insurance companies often don’t cover 100 percent of health care costs, the patients often have to get lawyers involved. You can’t turn on the TV without hearing a mesothelioma announcement; the announcer instructs people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma to call the 800 number listed on the TV screen to speak to an attorney. It’s sometimes hard to prove where workers were exposed to asbestos; employers will most often deny any culpability. However, lawsuits are won every day. Due to the mortality rate with mesothelioma, any monetary reward you receive would not make you healthy again, but it would help pay the bills.
At the present time there is no effective treatment for mesothelioma, unless it is diagnosed in the very early stages. Most people don’t know they have mesothelioma until it is too late to do anything about it. There are treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy; however, the affect is only palliative meaning to relieve symptoms. There are some treatments that are used in clinical trials and are experimental in nature that are covered by many health insurance plans. Participating in these trials may help the mesothelioma patient and in turn help advance science to eventually find a cure.

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