Traumatic Brain Injury Victims More Likely To Lose Health InsuranceMarch 16, 2016
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association-Surgery found that patients who suffered a traumatic brain injury were at a higher risk to lose their health insurance. The study theorized that patients who had sustained a traumatic brain injury lost their employer-provided insurance coverage due to their inability to work. The study also found a correlation between the severity of the injury and the speed at which workers lost their coverage.
Details of the Traumatic Brain Injury Study
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data from more than 13,000 patients who had been treated for traumatic brain injury. The research team gathered data from the national health insurance database MarketScan from January 2010 to December 2012. The study found that more than 30 percent of the patients who suffered traumatic brain injury patients saw changes in their health insurance coverage. For patients without such injuries, the rate of change in coverage was only 27.6 percent.
Insurers Speed Up Policy Changes For Traumatic Brain Injury Victims
The study also revealed that the changes in coverage for traumatic brain injury came much faster than those for other injured patients. Researchers found that patients with traumatic brain injury saw changes in their coverage an average of five months after the injury. Patients with non-TBI cases saw their changes an average of 8.5 months after their injuries. Dr. Eric Schneider, the study’s lead author, told reporters that the research did not yield a strong cause as to why insurers change their coverage so quickly for so many TBI victims.
Insurance Changes Leave Traumatic Brain Injury Victims Vulnerable
While insurers reduce or eliminate coverage for traumatic brain injury patients, the lack of coverage could leave some of the most vulnerable patients without access to health care. Patients who suffer severe brain injuries often require long-term care, including physical therapy, speech therapy, and psychological counseling, which insurers may or may not cover. Dr. Schneider speculated that insurers could change their coverage on traumatic brain injury victims due to their eligibility for disability coverage through various private and government-run insurance programs.
Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics
According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 280,000 traumatic brain injury victims are hospitalized each year. The report also showed that 40 percent of those who survive a traumatic brain injury are either temporarily or permanently disabled. These disabilities can disrupt the patient’s ability to work, which can endanger their health care coverage.
Source: Tech Times
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