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“Poor, and disabled!”

“He’s in a nursing home,” my friend got teary eyed. Her best friend John, became addicted to pain pills after a bad fall that broke his neck earlier this year. “He doesn’t have insurance. He was getting therapy at Beaumont hospital and making progress, and didn’t have the coverage to continue. The nursing home is really far, I haven’t been able to see him,” she explained. I’ve heard stories like this before. My other friend was surprised. Many people with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) cannot get the adequate care they need to recover. It’s so tragic. “We had a fundraiser, and raised $11,000 dollars. His wheelchair alone cost $37,000,” she continued.

Lifetime costs of someone with SCI are anywhere from $1,000,000 to $3,000,000, depending upon their level of injury. In Michigan, we have something called “no-fault” insurance. This usually applies to automobile coverage, in which accident victims receive direct payment from the company with which they themselves are insured. They cover physical therapies or any appointments related to their accident, no matter whose fault it is.

I also had an accident. While crossing the street on my way to school, at sixteen years old, I was hit by a car. It was auto-related. I was a minor, and my father had insurance at the time. Thus, for life, I am covered for physical therapies, or any appointments related to my accident because Michigan has no-fault insurance. It relieves a lot of tension, and avoids hassle.

We are one of a few states that has it. There is a battle to try and ban it. If that were to happen, people would have a limited number of physical therapy sessions per year. I’ve completed maybe several hundred hours of physical therapy. A “fixed” number of therapy sessions would not be enough. How could anyone get out of a wheelchair and walk, with a fixed number of therapy sessions? With a spinal cord injury it would be hard.

The problem is people like John, and others whose stories I’ve heard either exhaust their savings, or simply cannot afford to get well. I met a guy who fell from a tree while hunting, and became spinal cord injured. He was athletic, a gym teacher, and no one would’ve thought. He had a fundraiser, as did John, but how much can fundraisers cover with the outrageous rising costs of healthcare and physical therapy? It’s almost as if you have to be a millionaire, to get injured. Only then could you afford it.

Motor vehicle crashes account for 40.4% of reported SCI cases. The next most common cause is falls at 27.9%, acts of violence at 15.0%, recreational sporting activities 8.0%, and other/unknown 8.5% – according to http://Mikeutley.org  

Physical therapy can cost anywhere from $100-150 dollars per hour. Sometimes more! I’m blessed to have coverage. I receive physical therapy two times per week. I go to the gym alone the other times. I thank God I’m healthy. Now I’m able to walk with forearm crutches. I’m hoping to recover enough to walk with no walking device. But what if my circumstances were different? What if my accident wasn’t auto-related, or my father didn’t have insurance? What if I was not in Michigan, and in a state that didn’t have no-fault?

Let’s keep a prayer for all of the spinal cord injured in our hearts..

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  1. October 22, 2012 at 1:35 am

    Thanks for making us aware of this Zina. I agree with you, it’s important to have the no fault insurance. You have shown us this with your personal experience, the benefit of the of physical therapy that is not restricted.
    Keep up the good work writing and making people aware of these situations!

    Like

    • October 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Thank you Sharon! I’m very lucky to have insurance, it’s sad for people who don’t. I’ll do my best to keep readers posted on this topic.

      Like

  2. October 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Before I was a writer and speaker, I worked in insurance. I’ve never worked for a company that would service Michigan because it’s nearly impossible for an insurance company to even break even there. The price the insurance company would have to charge to actually pay their bills is more than most people can afford to pay for auto insurance so I’ve always viewed no-fault as a bad thing.

    Thanks for giving me a different perspective on it. I am glad you’re covered!

    Like

    • October 30, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Wow. I did not know that, Shannon. Thanks for giving me a different perspective. It is nice to have coverage!

      Like

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