They Lose Their Access To Health Care After Receiving A Lengthy COVID.

For long-term COVID patients, it is a heartbreaking string of setbacks. They initially experience the crippling effects of their illness. As their problems persist, individuals are then obliged to quit their occupations or drastically reduce their work hours. The loss of employer-sponsored health insurance follows for many people.

Although not all people with long COVID are disabled, a quarter of adults with long COVID claim that it considerably interferes with their day-to-day activities.

According to estimates, between 16 million and 34 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 have been affected by extended COVID.

Even though there are still few concrete statistics, a Kaiser Family Foundation investigation revealed that more than half of persons with long-term COVID who were employed prior to contracting the illness are now either unemployed or working reduced hours.

2 million to 4 million of the estimated 16 million working-age persons with long-term COVID are unemployed as a result of their symptoms, according to statistics from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. According to the Census Bureau, the cost of those missing wages ranges from $170 billion to as much as $230 billion annually. And given that 155 million Americans get health insurance through their employers, the welfare of working-age adults could be seriously threatened.

According to Megan Cole Brahim, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Law, Policy, and Management at Boston University and co-director of the institution’s Medicaid Policy Lab, “millions of people are now affected by long COVID, and frequently along with that comes the inability to work.” And because many people obtain their health insurance through employer-sponsored coverage, ceasing to be able to work could prevent you from continuing to have access to your previous health insurance.

Long COVID is defined by the CDC as a broad range of health difficulties, such as malaise, exhaustion, shortness of breath, problems with one’s mental health, disorders with the portion of the neurological system that regulates bodily activities, and more.

When Gwen Bishop received her COVID-19, she was working remotely for the University of Washington Medical Centers’ Human Resources division. Bishop, 39, anticipated feeling better enough to return to work once the infection had subsided, but that didn’t happen.

“It felt like they were written in Greek when I would log in to work and just try to read emails,” she adds. It was terribly frustrating and had no sense.

This is consistent with what scientists have learned about the nerve system problems that persons with lengthy COVID have reported. People who have recovered from acute COVID infections have reported memory loss, impaired sensory and motor function, and brain fog.

Bishop, who received her ADHD diagnosis when she was in elementary school, claims that another side effect of her protracted COVID was a new intolerance to stimulants like coffee and the ADHD prescription Vyvanse, both of which were staples of her daily life.

Bishop claims that she experienced panic attacks until the effects of her ADHD medication or coffee subsided. “That would be a full day of an unending panic attack,” the doctor said. “Vyvanse is a highly long-acting stimulant.”

Bishop was had to obtain documentation from her doctor’s office by a specific date that verified her lengthy COVID diagnosis in order for her to be granted a medical leave. She was able to obtain a few extensions, but Bishop claims that due to the strain on our healthcare systems, it was taking far longer than anticipated for her to be seen by a doctor under the coverage provided by her job. She claims that by the time she had an appointment, she had already lost her job due to excessive absences. Her story is supported by emails she gave that detail communications between her and her employer. Her visit with that provider would not have been covered if she didn’t have health insurance.

Long COVID is now recognised as a disability by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if “the person’s disease or any of its symptoms is a ‘physical or mental’ impairment that’substantially limits’ one or more main life activities,” according to advice released in July 2021.

For those with lengthy COVID, however, accessing disability compensation hasn’t always been simple. Some of those who have applied claim that they have had to fight to actually get access to disability insurance, on top of having to be out of work for 12 months in order to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance. The number of applications that referenced extended COVID that have been rejected so far has not yet been made public by the Social Security Administration.

In March 2020, David Barnett, a former bartender in the Seattle region in his early 40s, received COVID-19. He spent a lot of time working on his feet, bodybuilding, and trekking with his companion before contracting the infection. But for the past almost three years, even going for a stroll has been quite difficult. He claims that as a result of his symptoms, he has spent the most of his post-COVID life either bed- or chair-bound.

Despite being covered by his partner’s health insurance, he is still liable for copays and out-of-network visits and procedures. He launched a GoFundMe account and dipped into his personal money after he was unable to continue working as a bartender. According to him, he has applied for food stamps and is preparing to sell his truck. In March of this year, Barnett submitted a disability application; however, he claims the Social Security Administration rejected his request, and he has now engaged a lawyer to file an appeal.

He leads a round-the-clock Zoom support group for those with lengthy COVID and claims that no one in his immediate circle has been successful in obtaining disability benefits.

At least half of her patients, according to Alba Azola, MD, co-director of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Post-Acute COVID-19 Team, need some kind of accommodation to return to work; most can, if the right accommodations are made, such as switching to a job that can be done sitting down or with limited time standing. However, some individuals’ prolonged COVID symptoms have left them more seriously incapacitated.

“Work is such a big part of who people are. All those who are severely affected want is to return to work and their regular lives, she says.

Numerous long-term COVID patients of Azola are unable to return to their prior employment. They frequently need to locate new jobs that are more suited to their new realities, according to her. One patient’s infection kept her out of work for nine months; she was a nurse and mother of five who had previously worked in a facility where she contracted COVID-19. She eventually lost her work, and according to Azola, the patient’s employer was reluctant to make any modifications for her. Finally, the patient was able to secure a new position as a nurse coordinator, where she is not required to stand for longer than 10 minutes at a time.

The novelty of extended COVID and the ongoing uncertainty around it, according to Ge Bai, PhD, professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, present concerns for health insurance companies.

According to Bai, there is no clear-cut method for treating or curing this illness. For the time being, companies are free to choose whether to cover a condition or not. Therefore, there is a chance that those with a long COVID won’t have their therapies funded.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *