Payment Options For the Traumatically Brain Injured – Part II

Payment Options For the Traumatically Brain Injured – Part II

As we discussed last time, once the acute care period is over and the patient is stabilized, the resources obtainable to the patient can significantly impact treatment and recovery. In a perfect world, every patient would have unlimited access to the best resources obtainable to meet their needs. Ours unfortunately is not a perfect world.

The consequences of a traumatic brain injury are far reaching. Not only are there treatment costs associated with the recovery from the acute injuries, but there are the costs of long term care and supervision, the lost sustain to the family unit that the injured party before contributed, the increased physical demands placed upon the caregivers and family of the survivor to meet the needs of their injured loved ones, and the family having to step into the breach of the role that the injured person before contributed to the family.

This examination will focus on governmental supplies of funding for treatment and assistance to the traumatically brain injured.

B. Medicaid Medicaid is health insurance that helps people who cannot provide medical care pay for some or all of their medical bills. Medicaid is obtainable based on income, and applies only to low income individuals and families who fit into the eligibility group recognized by Federal and State law. Medicaid is administered on a state-by-state basis. Medicaid pays money directly to the health care providers.

1. Medicaid Liens. Like private health professionals, Medicaid may assert a lien on any recovery for the monies which it has paid. However, to the extent that there are not enough monies in the recovery to pay every provider in complete, Medicaid must proportion “pro-rata” with any unpaid medical providers pursuant to the requirements of N.C.G.S. 108A-57.

2. Medicaid waiver North Carolina has instituted certain waiver sets allowed by statute. These are commonly known as Medicaid Waivers. The Waivers tend to be aimed at different target populations.

a) NC-Community Alternatives Programs. This provides case management, respite, adult day health, in home aids, delivered meals, waiver supplies and home mobility aids to AIDs diagnoses for persons thirteen and older, HIV seroposivity and CDC classification of category A, B, or C for children aged 2 to 12 and HIV seropositivity for children up to age 2.

b) NC-CAP Choice. This waiver provides adult day health, respite, personal assistant, telephone alert, home delivered meals, in-home health aids, home mobility aids, waiver supplies, consumer designated goods and sets, care advice, and financial management sets to individuals elderly and disabled.

c) NC-Managed Behavioral Health Care Waiver This Medicaid waiver provides managed behavioral health care to the piedmont vicinity.

d) NC Community Alternatives Program for Children The program provides case management, personal care sets, respite care, nursing sets, home mobility aids and waiver supplies for disabled children aged 18 years or younger.

e) NC-Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults. Provides case management, respite (in home and institutional), adult day care, day health care, home modifications, PERS, accompanying care, waiver supplies and home delivered meals.

f) NCMR/DD This Medicaid waiver provides case management, personal care, respite habilitation (day and in-patient), environmental modifications, transportation, specialized medical equipment and supplies, PERS, family training, in home aid, means adaptations, crisis stabilization, developmental day care, therapeutic case consultation, supported living, augmentative communication, live-in caregiver and interpreter sets to individuals with MR/DD.

3. North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult sets

The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult sets has many programs to assist older adults and persons with disabilities. The benefits extend to the patient and their families by community-based systems of opportunities, sets, benefits and protections. Many of these sets extend to brain injured individuals who also meet the definition of “persons with disabilities”.

4. Short Term/Long Term Disability Insurance

If the injured person was employed at the time they acquired the brain injury, they may also be eligible for short term or long term disability coverage by their employer. It is not uncommon for employers to offer group disability coverage to their employees. While this assistance may not directly pay for medical sets, employees typically are eligible to receive a percentage of their base pay as their disability assistance. A typical plan has short term coverage for a period of three (3) months where the employee is paid approximately 80% of their base pay and after that period if they are nevertheless unable to work and they apply for long term disability, the employee is then paid a lower rate – often 60% — of the base pay for an extended period of time.

1. Many people also buy disability coverage’s on mortgages and other financial obligations. Caregivers should consider curious with any lending institution to which the brain injured is obligated for the possibility of such coverage. These benefits range from a suspension in the repayment obligation during the period of disability to a complete payoff of the loan.

5. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes) that is designed to help aged, blind and disabled people who have little or no income. SSI benefits are intended to meet basis needs of food, clothing and shelter. The standards of disability differ between whether the person is over or under 18 years of age.

1. If the person is under 18 years of age, “disabled” method a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which results in marked and harsh functional limitations; and can be expected to consequence in death; or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

2. If an individual is over 18 years of age, “disabled” method he or she had a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which results in the inability to include in any substantial gainful activity; and can be expected to consequence in death; or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

6. Social Security Disability In addition to SSI, Social Security Disability insurance pays benefits to the injured person and certain members of that injured persons family if they are “insured” (meaning that they have worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes). To qualify for benefits, a patient must have first worked in jobs covered by Social Security then have a medical condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability. The definition of “disability” is consistent with the definition of SSI disability stated above. Social Security Disability is not based on income but the benefits can phase-out based on the earned income which the disabled individual receives. Disability payments from private supplies, such as private pension or insurance benefits typically do not affect Social Security Disability benefits. However, Workers’ Compensation and other public disability benefits may reduce the Social Security Disability benefits.

7. Special Needs Trust To qualify or continue to receive SSI, Disability, Medicaid and other need based assistance programs there are strict limits on the value of the assets a disabled person may own. This can present a problem when the family or relatives of a brain injured person try to provide for their long term needs by way of inheritance, life insurance benefits or other asset move. Often the receipt of such an asset would disqualify the person from eligibility until the asset is depleted. Once the asset is depleted, the disabled person has to requalify and go by all of the eligibility periods. The effect of this is often to frustrate the intention of the family or the giver of the asset. One way to preserve a person’s eligibility for the assistance programs while also putting assets aside for their long term care is a special needs trust. A special needs trust is a special kind of instrument which holds title to the character for the assistance of the disabled individual. A special needs trust has substantial limitations on the expenditure of income or assets. basically, the trust can provide for certain “special needs” of the individual when such items are not being provided by any public or private agency. Some expenditures which may be allowed include treatment or therapy not covered, training programs, transportation expenses, life insurance and certain comfort items such as TV’s, CD players, computers, vacations, ball games or movies.

8. Workers’ Compensation If the person was injured while on the job, they likely qualify for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Workers’ Compensation provides payment for all covered medical expenses and includes cash benefits to workers who are injured or become ill as a direct consequence of their job. Workers’ Compensation also provides benefits for dependents of the workers who are killed because of work related accidents or illnesses.

9. Vocational Rehabilitation The North Carolina Department of Health and Human sets Division of Vocational Rehabilitation contributes employment and independence for people with disabilities by partnership with community businesses. The Asheville Office of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is located at 8 Barbetta excursion, Asheville, NC 28806, (828) 670-3387.

Traumatic Brain Injuries are often referred to as the silent epidemic. A person’s life can be significantly and dramatically affected by a brain injury. Those of you serving on the front lines want the best outcome for their patients and loved ones. By securing all obtainable funding, our loved ones can focus on their recovery.

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