Long-Term Medical Care

Not every ailment can be resolved with a Band-Aid or some Tylenol. It would be nice if that were the case, but sometimes other issues arise, issues that require care that lasts months or even years. It can be a sudden development, like getting hit by a pickup truck when you’re strolling across a sidewalk. It can be the result of decisions you made years ago, like a diagnosis of lung cancer that arrives after two decades of smoking cigarettes. Whatever the circumstances, it usually means the start of a particularly challenging period. Broadly speaking, the challenges can came in the form of both financial stress and emotional stress.

Paying for it

America has a health care system that’s quite unique in comparison to other, similar nations. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 nudged America closer to a universal health care system like the ones in Germany and the UK, but millions of people still don’t have health insurance. Even with health insurance, many people must resort to crowdfunding campaigns to fill in the coverage gaps. However, the nature of crowdfunding inevitably means some patients will get left behind. The most dramatic cases may get fully funded, but plenty of others will not. The ability to survive an illness without financial ruin shouldn’t depend on someone’s ability to market themselves or their sickness, but that’s the situation some people face. What can you do to try and avoid finding yourself in that situation?

One way is to talk to your doctors about the price tag of treatment before it starts. This isn’t possible in every case, especially if you’re rushed into the emergency room in need of surgery after an accident. But whenever possible, try to get as much information as possible about the possible range of costs. A doctor may not know all about the particulars, but someone in the office should be an expert in billing and insurance. Talk to that person. Sometimes insurance companies won’t tell you how much a treatment costs until after it’s been completed, but many offices can at least give you a rough estimate of how much other, similar treatments have cost out-of-pocket. If you were in an accident and believe someone else may have been wholly or mostly responsible for that accident, speak to a personal injury attorney. Legal liability is a complicated matter, but most attorneys offer free or low-cost initial consultations. It’s not greedy to want to be made whole in the wake of someone else’s negligence.

Another way to pay for it is to tap your life insurance! This is often an overlooked option, as most people incorrectly assume that life insurance only benefits our loved ones after we pass. In reality, there are life insurance settlement options that can help us stay liquid and meet the growing financial needs that come along with pricey medical expenses.

Emotional costs

A serious illness or accident really messes with our sense of morality, especially since we like to think we’ll live a long, happy life, then die peacefully in our sleep around age ninety. Chronic stress can make you tired, irritable, and unable to concentrate. You may feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Talk to your doctor and see if they can give you a recommendation for a mental health specialist. Many cancer care facilities have psychiatrists and psychologists working on site and ready to help patients at a moment’s notice. Talking to a sympathetic stranger about your issues can feel better than talking to a well-meaning friend, perhaps because a stranger feels calmer and less judgmental. Facing these emotional issues will help you feel better-prepared to tackle any remaining medical treatments.

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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