Terminal illness is something that affects not only the person dealing with the illness but everyone around them as well. For many families, the hardest part of dealing with a terminal illness—aside from the illness itself—is the cost of constant medical care. COVID-19 has laid bare many of the flaws in the current U.S. health system and the costly toll they take on uninsured and under-insured people and their family members. Even for many insured people, the cost of medical care in the United States is more than they or their family members can bear.
Chronic pain, degenerative conditions, and serious injuries and disabilities are all debilitating both physically and financially. Unfortunately, many families have met their financial ruin trying to cover exorbitantly high medical bills to the point of having to downsize their lives or worse. This guide won’t do anything to lower your medical bills or improve your insurance policy, but it will help you to understand some of the costs of constant care, ways you can manage them, and other things you can do to help yourself or a chronically ill family member.
How do you make sure you or your loved one gets the best possible care?
Our parents take care of us through childhood—and sometimes through adulthood as well—so the desire to reciprocate is heartfelt, but it may not be what’s best for you or them. Time spent at home taking care of your mother or father is time spent away from the job, and bills don’t take an off day.
Even if you work from home, medical professionals would probably warn against having your elderly, vulnerable mother or father living alongside younger people who are more likely to be asymptomatic if they contract COVID-19. At a time when public health is such a looming concern, it’s paramount to make sure that your loved one receives optimal medical care.
If you decide that a nursing home or assisted living facility is the best option for your parent, then you must do your homework and legwork to find the best fit. If you have friends who’ve had to place a loved one in constant care, they’ll be able to give you some insight, but you should also research online reviews before choosing possible candidates. As you’re inspecting potential care facilities, look to see what they offer in terms of meals, enrichment, exercise, as well as what type of medical professionals they have on hand. Talk with some of the staff to get a feel for them and also get some insight into what day-to-day life is like at the facility.
If it’s an assisted living facility and your loved one struggles with memory problems, you need to search for facilities that offer their patients help with remembering to take their medications. You also have to take into account transportation to and from medical appointments. Even after you’ve chosen a nursing home, you’re still not done making sure that your loved one gets the care they need. Whenever you visit with them, it’s important to check them for signs of abuse such as any new or worsening neck pain, knee pain, back pain, bruises, or serious injuries.
When your loved one talks about their life in the facility, it’s imperative that you listen with an investigator’s ear for any signals of negligence, abuse, or malpractice. Also, develop relationships with everyone charged with your loved one’s care. The more they see that you’re proactive in your loved one’s care even though you’re not the one caring for them, the less likely you’ll have to worry about abuse or negligence.
What if the insurance won’t cover medical care and living expenses?
Isn’t it ironic that health care in the United States can cost you an arm and a leg? When the medical records indicate terminal illness and your loved one needs constant care, the medical bills pile exponentially higher. Paying for their care and your own family’s living expenses could cause you to lose it all financially. Though you would surely buy your mom’s or dad’s health if it were possible, you can’t take care of them or the family you’ve created if you lose everything.
One way to cover your loved one’s end-of-life care and possibly have expendable cash for them to enjoy life is to get a viatical settlement. A viatical settlement is a special type of cash settlement for the life insurance policies of people who are expected to live for 24 months or less.
The uncomfortable side of viatical settlements is that they pay based on the life expectancy of the policyholder. The shorter the policyholder’s life expectancy, then the larger the cash value of the viatical settlement. One of the best things about a viatical settlement is that it differs from selling your life insurance policy in that there’s no viatical settlement taxation. There’s no tax on viatical settlements because they’re intended for end-of-life care and are only available to people who meet the life expectancy requirements.
However, getting a viatical settlement is not throwing in the towel. You can use your viatical settlement to try experimental or breakthrough treatments that your health insurance won’t cover. If your doctor suggests that you try a new breakthrough treatment like Regenexx therapy, then your viatical settlement may come in handy.
Will your loved one still need to see specialists if they have constant care?
Constant care usually serves one of three purposes: around the clock care for seniors and disabled people, rehab for seriously injured or ill people, and end-of-life care for terminally ill people. Your loved one being under the constant care of medical professionals doesn’t mean their life is over even though they’re in a fight for their health.
Neck and back pain are not only inconvenient and excruciating but debilitating as well. New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. is a center for neck and back treatment in Toms River, NJ that has been treating sufferers of back and neck pain in the Tri-State area for years. They have a strong track record of helping patients to recover from osteoarthritis, inflammation, and other neck and spine problems.
What do you do in the case of negligence or malpractice?
When you place a loved one in any form of constant care, it’s imperative that you make checking up on them a part of your treatment plan for them. When someone is put under constant medical care, it usually falls to their closest family members to stand up for their rights, and your loved one will be relying on you to do the same.
Seniors, terminally ill patients, and severely disabled patients often become silent victims of medical malpractice and medical negligence because they don’t have the ability to fight for themselves. If you feel like you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice, negligence, misdiagnosis, or have suffered a serious injury during a medical procedure, then you need to get on the case fast.
Too often, people second guess whether or not they have a case, and their chance to get justice expires due to the statute of limitations. The quicker you get on the ball, then the easier it will be for your medical malpractice attorneys to gather files and evidence for your malpractice case.