In our November episode of the ‘Get Back To It’ podcast, National Spine Health Foundation CEO, Dr. Rita Roy, sits down with Spinal Champion, Ellen B., to discuss her multiple surgeries. Health insurance can be complicated and confusing. When you are dealing with major health issues like the possibility of back surgery, you must be an advocate for yourself.
Back Pain Can Be Debilitating
A sudden injury or back issue can be debilitating, causing people to miss work and not be able to care for their families. Chronic pain can stop life in it’s tracks and sometimes, nonsurgical solutions like steroid injections, physical therapy or pain medications, simply do not work.
In Ellen’s case, she had to have multiple procedures to solve her many pain problems. In 2016, Ellen’s artificial disc surgery finally solved all of her pain problems and has not had any pain since! She is not alone — and the health insurance game required in all of this can be tough to understand.
Health Insurance for Back Surgery
The majority of people have “low healthcare literacy” — and it makes sense. There is a lot to understand. Blue Cross found that three reasons driving up healthcare costs include prescription drug spending, treating chronic diseases and conditions, and poor lifestyle choices like smoking and alcohol use.
Sometimes, health insurance covers full procedures. Usually, you must meet a deductible in order to get full coverage. It all depends on the kind of insurance plan you have. After you hit the out-of-pocket limit, health insurance will pay 100% of your health care costs.
Many people get health insurance through their employer or their spouse’s employer, but there are also government plans and private plans. Medicare and Medicaid are available to certain segments of the population. Check out this guide to the basics to learn more about what plan you might have, need or what might be an option for you.
Self-Advocacy in Healthcare and Health Insurance
It’s so important to advocate for yourself when it comes to healthcare and health insurance. This is not always easy, but it can make all the difference.
- Investigate to find the best pain team you can find
- Get second opinions and be honest
- Educate yourself on all the options
- Call your health insurance company and ask all the questions you have
- Be clear that your pain is causing you to miss work or not be able to care for your family
- Be willing to spend on what insurance won’t cover if you can
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