Many people are prescribed narcotics for pain they may have.  For them, finding Medical Insurance may be a challenge.  Medical Insurance carriers are very careful about issuing a Medical Insurance policy to someone who takes pain medication over a long term basis.  Vicodin, a pain reliever, is now the most prescribed drug in America.

Medical Insurance carriers have good reasons to be cautious about painkillers. Annual deaths from overdoses of painkillers have risen to 14,800 in 2008 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  There are approximately 116 million American adults, an unbelievable one third of our population, that struggle with chronic pain.  To protect themselves from sky rocketing costs Medical Insurance providers have put some new restrictions and requirements on many of their major medical policies.

Some Medical Insurance plans will only cover prescription medication up to a certain dollar amount – for instance $3000.  Once your drug costs reach $3000 the Medical Insurance provider will no longer pay any benefits for prescription drugs.  Most Medical Insurance plans also call for a separate deductible to be met for brand name drugs.  Some Medical Insurance carriers will let you pick between a higher and lower prescription deductible with the lower deductible raising the monthly premium.  Other Medical Insurance carriers just have a flat deductible to meet for brand name drugs and do not offer the member any choices.  Another option to think about if you are having a hard time finding a Medical Insurance provider to offer you Medical Insurance at all is to purchase a plan that offers no prescription coverage.  If you decide that might work for you remember that if you are hospitalized and require medication your Medical Insurance provider would cover those drugs.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “how you think about pain can have a major impact on how it feels.”  Scientists are learning more and more about how your brain processes pain.  Obviously we are not talking about pain from recent surgery and suggesting you try a little meditation, but the long term kind of pain like lower back pain.  That’s the kind of pain that will get your Medical Insurance application denied.

Here is an excerpt from the Wall Street Journal article on different approaches to pain management other than narcotics. “Some are as old as meditation, hypnosis and tai chi, while others are far more high tech.  In studies at Stanford University’s Neuroscience and Pain Lab, subjects can watch their own brains react to pain in real-time and learn to control their response – much like building up a muscle.  When subjects focused on something distracting instead of the pain, they had more activity in the higher-thinking parts of their brains.  When they “re-evaluated” their pain emotionally – “Yes, my back hurts, but I won’t let that stop me”- they had more activity in the deep brain structures that process emotion.  Either way, they were able to ease their own pain significantly, according to a study in the journal of Anesthesiology last month.”

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