On Thursday, October 28, 2012, in a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Obama’s Administration’s universal healthcare coverage legislation, also know as Obamacare. The law will make it illegal for insurance companies to decline coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The full power of the legislation will not be enforced as law until 2014.
According to estimates based on data collected in 2010, approximately 49.9 million Americans are living in the United States without health insurance. In March of 2012, the Asbestos Legal Center, a law firm representing mesothelioma patients and victims of asbestos related disease, estimated based upon the mesothelioma incidence rate for the general population, that as many as 16% of patients diagnosed with mesothelioma don’t have health insurance.
The Obamacare ruling on it’s face, seems to suggest that patients suffering from Mesothelioma and asbestos related disease who don’t possess health care coverage, should be able to purchase medical insurance to cover their healthcare needs after diagnosis. As malignant pleural mesothelioma is a disease typically associated with a nine month survival rate and costly medical treatments, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, the ruling appears to be gigantic step towards extending the life of uninsured patients. But unfortunately patients have to wait until 2014 to get this help.
Until the law goes into effect in 2014, there are still options Mesothelioma patients without healthcare coverage can pursue, to pay their medical bills.
Veterans of the United States military suffering from asbestos related diseases should go to their local Veterans Administration Hospital, and pursue coverage through the Veterans Administration. Unfortunately, many of our service men and women were exposed to asbestos onboard U.S. Navy ships, and during their military service.
Another option mesothelioma patients without healthcare coverage can choose to obtain medical assistance, is to volunteer to participate in clinical trials. Given that the malignant pleural mesothelioma incidence rate is low in the general population, researchers have difficulty finding patients to work with to test new procedures and drug regimens. Often times there will be funding available to pay for travel related expenses and the medical care associated with the clinical trial. Mesothelioma patients without health care coverage should contact their local hospital and ask for information about clinical trials. There are always risks associated with clinical trials. That being said, many clinical trials for mesothelioma patients often have gone on for great lengths of time, and prior to entering a clinical trial a patient can ask for safety and efficacy data the trial has collected.
Still another option that mesothelioma patients can pursue to obtain funds to cover their medical bills, is to seek compensation in the tort system and bankruptcy courts.
Malignant pleural mesothelioma is considered a signature disease, meaning that is only has one cause, exposure to asbestos. Millions of dollars have been set aside in bankruptcy trusts, for individuals exposed to asbestos contained in the products of bankrupt companies. Moreover, individuals can file lawsuits against companies that are still in business, who caused their injuries. Patients diagnosed with mesothelioma should Continue reading
This week legal pundits have been engaged in watching the U.S Supreme Court, as attorneys representing various states have battled with the Obama Administration over Obamacare, the universal healthcare bill touted to provide insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The law also would make it illegal for insurance companies to decline to provide health insurance to individuals who were already ill with pre-existing conditions. The full effect of the bill is not slated to go into effect until 2014.
In 2010, it was estimated that 49.9 million American’s were uninsured. If the mesothelioma rate (2500py/312mil) for the general population is strictly applied to the uninsured, it can be estimated that approximately 16% of mesothelioma patients are without medical insurance, and are attempting to pay expensive medical bills with money from their own pocket.
Many mesothelioma patients, who were exposed to asbestos in the military, have access to healthcare through the Veterans Administration Hospital. However, for those uninsured mesothelioma patients who did not serve in the military the burden of paying for medical care is a terrible challenge. Most experts classify malignant pleural mesothelioma as terminal with an average survival rate of nine months, for which there is no cure. However, treatments do exist to extend mesothelioma patients lives and decease suffering, without “curing” the disease. However without insurance, some patients find such treatments to be cost prohibitive. In 2014, under Obamacare, it is believed that uninsured mesothelioma patients would have access to health insurance.
One option uninsured mesothelioma patients may choose to pursue is to participate in clinical trials. As mesothelioma is classified as a rare disease, often times hospitals and physicians conducting mesothelioma clinical trials have difficulty finding mesothelioma patients to participate in clinical trials. As a result, the clinical trial will actually pay for the cost of travel for the mesothelioma patient to the treating facility, as well as the costs for the medical care. Uninsured mesothelioma patients should discuss this treatment option with their medical provider. All clinical trials carry risks. Many mesothelioma clinical trials have been recruiting patients for year, and as a result have data that mesothelioma patients can review and consider prior to participating.
Another option that uninsured mesothelioma patients have to pay their medical bills is to use compensation provided to them through the tort system. Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma is considered by the vast majority of scientific experts to be a “signature” disease. In layman’s terms, that means if you have it, it is assumed you were exposed to asbestos. Compensation is available to individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma both through the court system, and also in a bankruptcy trust claim system. In many states there are lawyers who work with mesothelioma patients to help them gain compensation to pay for their medical bills. Not every mesothelioma patient needs to file a lawsuit to gain compensation. Even if a mesothelioma patient is litigation adverse, it is still advantageous for the uninsured patient to consult an attorney.
Even if Obamacare is struck down by the Supreme Court in the coming weeks, there will be options for… Continue reading