Traumatic Brain Injuries Linked to Loss of Insurance
A recent U.S. analysis has revealed that individuals who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are at an increased risk of losing their private health insurance coverage.
The TBI Study: Procedure and Results
According to Reuters, researchers examined a three-year period of data from MarketScan, a national commercial database those with private health insurance and their insurance claims, comparing those who sustained TBI and similar people who had not.
Between January 2010 and December 2012, the team analyzed data from 13,558 people under the age of 65. They found that 30.7% of TBI sufferers have changes to their insurance coverage, compared to 27.6% of their non-TBI counterparts.
In the course of this examination, the team found that the more severe the brain injury, the quicker people experienced changes in or cancellation of their health coverage. The research data showed that those with the most severe brain injuries experienced insurance alteration within 5 months, whereas people without TBI averaged nearly 9 months before a shift in their coverage occurred.
Proposed Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The study didn’t include reasons for why people’s coverage status changed, thus Schneider ventures that there is a possibility these changes could occur as patients became eligible for different insurance programs based upon their disability.
However, most subjects in the study received their healthcare through their jobs, so it is likely the change coincided with changes in their employment. While not all brain injuries are debilitating, they are often a life-altering experience with a far-reaching impact on the individual’s ability to function in society.
In the U.S., traumatic brain injuries comprise 2.5 million emergency room visits and 280,000 hospitalizations each year. Approximately 40 percent of those survivors develop a potentially disruptive disability. Thus primary account holders may have lost their coverage as they discovered they were no longer able to work and became unemployed.
However, these injuries often require long-term care, with expensive medications and prolonged rehabilitation or recurrent hospitalizations. According to Schneider, this protracted treatment can make the difference in the recovery of patients with more severe brain injuries.
Unfortunately, the study has shown that those who likely to most require further treatment are those swiftest to change or lose their much-needed coverage. It is hoped these findings will alert people to this previously unrecognized and potentially hazardous situation.