Monday, June 13, 2016

The End of Your Life

I've mentioned before on here how frustrated I am that health insurance is willing to pay for things to prolong a person's life, but nothing that will improve their quality of life. This is an example I recently saw that made me really angry:

I was consulted on a woman in her eighties who had metastatic cancer. She had decided against further treatment, which the insurance would have covered. Unfortunately, her husband was nearly 90 and could not care for her at home, considering she couldn't do any of her ADLs without a lot of help.

However, even though the insurance would have paid for cancer treatment, they would not pay for her to go to a nursing home. They would not pay for the home care that she needed. Hospice services could not provide the care she needed. So the only option was for her elderly husband to deplete their life's savings to pay for her care, and have nothing for himself after she died.

I feel like there's something wrong with a system where this could happen.


  1. I'm going to school for my Masters and just wrote a paper that covers this topic. They need to consult a social worker to see if they would be eligible for Medicaid for her, and place her under hospice care in a nursing facility. There are Medicaid programs where the spouse can claim their money assets as his own, and that would put her into the area where she would be eligible for Medicaid to pay for her nursing home. Medicare does pay for hospice.
    This is sad and I agree that things need to change with end of life care. Hospice is a wonderful program and provides help for so much, even if the person isn't as close to the end. Long term insurance is also another option to look into. It may seem expensive but to spend a few thousand a year vs almost 100,000 a year it does save money in the end.

  2. It's so sad that insurance would have paid through the nose for her to die in a hospital when the chemotherapy/radiation/surgical treatments failed. Our priorities are out of order.

    If this happens to me I hope I am lucid enough to ask my family or a cab driver to take me to a wild area, where I can crawl to a secluded place and die for free so that I don't leave my loved ones penniless.

  3. You feel? I know there is.

  4. Even when the patient knows enough to say no to an unnecessary treatment, system forces her to take it, or suffer. It's screwed up.