PAYING FOR TREATMENT

Maintaining adequate and affordable health insurance can be challenging. However, if you are over the age of 65 and/or receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you are eligible for Medicare. Medicare covers many treatments and services that are essential to people with Parkinson’s, including, but not limited to: hospitalization; routine office visits; physical, occupational and speech-language therapy; and prescription drugs.

If you are not eligible for Medicare and do not have access to health insurance through a current or former employer or family member, you may want to explore buying private insurance through your state’s health care exchange. To learn more about health insurance plans available in your state, visit www.healthcare.gov.

Depending on your income level, you may eligible to receive health insurance through Medicaid. Eligibility varies by state, so you should contact your state Medicaid program to discuss eligibility requirements.

In addition to health insurance, many people with Parkinson’s-related disabilities may also consider applying for federal disability insurance, such as SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For more information on these programs, visit www.ssa.gov/disability.

Private disability plans may also come into play. Many employers offer short-term and/or long-term disability plans that employees can choose to put money into while they are working. After leaving work because of disability (and keep in mind that different plans have different eligibility requirements as to what constitutes disability), qualified employees receive a portion of their salary while they remain disabled. Private-sector plans usually begin paying out within a period of months after disability begins. That compares favorably with most government disability programs, which can take a year or more to approve a disability claim and begin disbursing payment. Some private plans pay a set amount regardless of what an insured patient receives from Social Security, while other plans may offset the benefits they pay by whatever disability payments the insured may receive from Social Security.

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