Many Americans may unfortunately suffer traumatic brain injuries that can significantly or entirely impede their ability to maintain a job. This can also create major issues when it comes to their ability to keep the same kind of health insurance they may have had for years, and that may be extremely detrimental to their recovery.
A recent study found that in general, the more severe a traumatic brain injury is, the more likely a victim is to lose or see changes to their health insurance, in a shorter amount of time, according to a report from Reuters. This is because the vast majority of those people who suffered such injuries received coverage through their jobs, and often these injuries are so severe that they either cannot work at all or cannot continue to do the work they were previously doing, which provided them with health insurance in the first place.
"Individuals who were the primary policy holder might have lost coverage because they were unable to continue in their job and became unemployed [or] uninsured," Eric Schneider of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who co-authored the study, told the news organization.
Digging into the numbers
Nationwide, these types of injuries lead to some 2.5 million visits to the emergency room, and more than 1 in 10 of those lead to hospital stays, the report said. Among those who survive their injuries, about 2 in 5 are left with a disability, many of which can inhibit their ability to work as they previously did.
In all, about 3 in 10 people who suffered such an injury ended up seeing some change in their health insurance. That's up from a little more than 1 in 4 people of a similar background who did not suffer a brain injury, the report said. Further, those with TBI typically saw their coverage change within five months or less, compared with a change after about 8.5 months for the others. This is often problematic, of course, because so many people with traumatic brain injuries likely have long recovery processes ahead of them, and having the right coverage therefore goes a long way.
Other things to consider
However, it's also important to note that not all traumatic brain injuries are the same. Some can heal themselves without too much difficulty over relatively short periods of time, and others can take months or years, or simply never recover at all, the report said. Further, some of these changes in health insurance may come because those people became eligible for an improved type of coverage that better meets their needs than what they had previously. Obviously, though, this will not be the case for everyone.
As such, it's important for health insurance companies to make sure their policyholders know about how traumatic brain injury can impact both them and their coverage on an ongoing basis, so that they aren't caught unawares when these issues arise.