Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Daughter's Health Scare And U.S. Healthcare

My daughter, Carly, broke her neck last May in a car crash.

That she survived was miraculous. The second vertebra she fractured in three places protects the portion of the spinal cord which controls breathing. Her neurologist said most fatalities involving broken necks are due to second vertebra fractures.

As luck would have it she was knocked out when the speeding driver hit her car broadside as she turned into the oncoming lane. If she had moved before paramedics stabilized her she most likely would have died.

After two nights in the hospital she was sent home in a neck brace for three months of assisted care and the ugly discomfort that entails. Carly was prescribed a low dose of valium and Tylenol which she was able to stop taking within a week.

Her accident happened just after her finals; she was back in her own apartment - without the brace - before classes began in August.

She was covered by her mom's company's group policy. Medical bills were paid after co-payments and deductables. Everything seems beyond great until you look into the not too distant future.

Carly will be dropped from her mom's coverage six months after she graduates. Few, if any, insurance companies will ever cover her.

An Associated Press article I read in The Tennessean over the weekend showed an individual with a spinal cord injury lucky enough to be offered coverage faced premiums of about $1,600 per month; anything related to the preexisting condition will not be covered.

I wonder how many ailments can be tied to central nervous system trauma?

The existing system of providing healthcare in the United States is clearly broken. Do we care enough to fix this problem?