Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A VENT AND RANT ABOUT OUR INSURANCE, OR LACK THERE OF

We have published 200 posts on this blog and they have been eclectic, as I promised. I've vented about the chemicals in all the products we use, the food we eat and especially the chemical fragrances that are in every single product made today.

Tonight I want to rant a bit about something I learned today that effects many thousands of us, but unless you are the one dealing with lymphedema as we are, you are not likely to know that Medicare doesn't pay for the expensive compression equipment needed to force the proteins and lymph fluid out of a limb and back into the channels that excrete it from the body.

Did you know that after radiation, most cancer patients suffer with horrible swelling in their limbs or in the body? The radiation used to try to shrink the tumor, destroys the lymph glands in the area. The arm or leg swells to gigantic proportions and causes extreme pain. Once the doctor who gives the radiation is done, the patient is on his own to search out someone who can help him with this painful condition.

We fortunately found a good lymphedema specialist, Ann Stone in Murphy, nearby and she has worked diligently two or three times each week, wrapping Barry's leg in multiple layers of compression material, but the progress is slow. Now he is bruising badly and she fears cellulitis could set it.

We have to bring out the big guns she said to us today. She brought in a long black boot that was deeply padded. This contraption is one of the best ways to force the fluids out of his leg, but it costs $2500 she said. We have Medicare and an excellent Medicare supplement insurance, but they will do us no good. Medicare doesn't consider this equipment necessary. I suppose they consider it a "luxury."

I told her there must be other choices. We finally settled on one that Medicare might pay if we meet all the criteria.

Now I'm ready to write letters and make my senators and congressmen aware of this ridiculous situation. My husband will have to fight this problem of lymphedema for the rest of his life. This is the what we hope to avoid when our Medicare fees are taken out of our paychecks. Who can fork over twenty-five hundred dollars in order to receive needed help that should be paid by our insurance companies - Medicare and our supplement? We pay premiums each month, and we expect those premiums to work for our benefit when we need them most.

I'm going to write and call those politicians I voted for and make them aware of this travesty. I hope everyone will do the same. It could happen to anyone at at any time.

Breast cancer victims, lymphoma victims, and many other cancer sufferers will develop lymphedema and will fight it as long as they live. Surely insurance could offer them the best care possible for fighting the pain.

6 comments:

Kathryn Magendie said...

It's unbelievable how insurance companies "justify" what they will pay and will not - don't EVEN get me started on insurance companies-health and auto!

Joan Ellen Gage said...

I did not realize that medicare did not cover this mode of compression treatment. You do need your senators, etc. on your side. Are there any senior services in the area that could help you? I would look into Clay County Social Services, if you haven't already. Good luck!

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

Glenda:

Sorry to hear about the pain and problems BB is having after his treatments. I'm keeping him in my prayers.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Hi Kathryn, Joan and Brenda,
We never know what we are going to face until we find outselves there.
I'm working on the problem and we'll see what we have to do next. Thanks for hearing my vent, and for your comments.

Pat Workman said...

I am saddened to learn this, Glenda. The medical care in this country is a shamble and getting worse. For too many years the politico has lined their own pockets with 'our' money. Are there any advocates left. I hope so. The good news is, we are finally realizing that we must take a more active part and make our voices heard--just what you are doing. Champion on my friend. You have what it takes,that I know.

Glenda C. Beall said...

Thanks, Pat, for your encouraging words. I agree, we have to let our voices be heard. In the past, I'd never do anything but complain, but I've learned that sometimes you have to be the squeaky wheel.
And I don't mind squeaking when I am passionate about something.