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Bryant & Carson, P.C. Aug. 3, 2013

For serious injured victims of auto crashes, insurance coverage is complicated and has to be pieced together from different sources. Their is no universal coverage to protect an innocent victim and families must hold things together as best they can while the insurance companies defend these valid claim. All too often their auto insurance coverage is insufficient to cover their real life needs and not only do victims have to manage their injuries but they fight to keep their family afloat. Review your auto insurance carefully with your agent or a lawyer. Buy as much medical insurance and lost wage coverage as you reasonably can afford. Make sure you have as much comprehensive coverage you can because that coverage will protect you if the at fault driver bought minimum coverage. When you compare the costs for these upgrades you may be surprised at how affordable it is.

Laura Nichols

For her son, Connie Stidd said the health care legislation overhaul came too late.

When Aaron Stidd was 20 years old, he was hit by a drunk driver, an incident that left him in a constant fight to regain even the most basic life functions.

At the time of his accident, Aaron Stidd had his own health insurance, separate from his parents’ plan. After years of shouldering the hefty medical bills that came with her son’s many surgeries, prescriptions and rehabilitation sessions, Connie Stidd said it is still a struggle to maintain her son’s coverage, despite the sweeping health care reform legislation that passed through Congress just over a week ago.

Indeed, his mother said if the new health care legislation had been in effect prior to her son’s accident, the family would be “in a better place.”

“We have it — but we have to fight for it,” she said.

Before the reform bill passed, someone who is disabled — like Aaron — would pay a premium price for their own healthcare plan, said Pamela Short, university director of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research.

Under the new healthcare policies, Aaron could have stayed on his father’s health insurance plan, and the new legislation would essentially cover him for the rest of his life following the accident.

Aaron, who now has his own health insurance through COBRA, initially faced problems with coverage immediately following his accident, Connie Stidd said.

His plan would have allowed for him to stay in a nursing home, but it would not cover his rehabilitation — something his family had to fight for.

Often, a doctor will write Aaron a prescription for a certain amount of visits for therapy, she said, but his insurance will only cover a fraction of the appointments.

Under the new legislation, people with disabilities or those who are very ill can buy their own insurance at rates much closer to that of a healthy person’s, Short said.

Some of the other benefits in the legislation include more financial protection for a disabled person who might not be able to work again. The legislation also prohibits insurance companies from limiting or putting a cap on any of the benefits a high-care person may receive. No one will be in danger of outliving his or her health insurance, Short said.

Connie Stidd said her family has been very fortunate: Outside of her son’s physical therapy needs, all of his medical and surgical needs are covered by insurance.

But it would have been better if her son was guaranteed coverage for the rest of his life from the onset of his accident.

“There are some positives,” she said, “but of course, there are a lot of negatives.”