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only 61, what insurance is best if I have alz? I live in Arizona.
Hildegard
Posted: Monday, November 22, 2021 7:42 AM
Joined: 7/12/2018
Posts: 5


I am pretty sure I have Alz. I need to go and do MRI, sleep test, mem test, etc. and they will cost thousands of dollars. I have Cigna. My husband may be changing jobs and have to get new insurance. I want to see if I should to get the new insurance before I am diagnosed. Are any particular insurances better than others for Alz? Will a new insurance cover pre-existing condition such as ALZ?
My2moms
Posted: Monday, November 22, 2021 8:18 AM
Joined: 11/20/2021
Posts: 7


Hi. I know that most hospitals have monies to help people that need financial assistance but you MUST ask them. They don't volunteer this info.

So that's what I would suggest, it can't hurt.  

Hope and wish u well


terei
Posted: Monday, November 22, 2021 8:27 AM
Joined: 5/16/2017
Posts: 818


I would have the same concerns you do.  If you are covered by your H’s medical insurance + there is a chance that he will have to change insurances, I would not start testing until his new insurance has taken full effect.

If you DO have alz, frankly, there is no hurry to get diagnosed.   There is little they can do for you anyway.   Please be aware that there are some medical conditions that can cause dementia symptoms that can be reversed, so they should rule that out first.

Each individual policy will have its own coverage/conditions +I have never  heard of one company being more comprehensive than another when it comes to alz.   Good luck


Victoria2020
Posted: Monday, November 22, 2021 12:22 PM
Joined: 9/21/2017
Posts: 1030


Suggest you and husband update your wills, trust, if one, power of attorneys for finances and health with a Certified Elder Law attorney. A good idea no matter what.

Only discuss your Alz concerns with a lawyer-- elder law or tax law so you're covered under attorney client privilege.

I hope your concern turns out to be treatable/curable --NPH, for example,  is treatable early so do get checked out as suggested.

A bill of some thousands is nothing is you can retain/maintain cognitive abilities. That is priceless.

 

 



Iris L.
Posted: Monday, November 22, 2021 1:22 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 17587


Hildegard, I was pretty sure I had Alzheimer's Disease in 2008-2009.  My neurologist started me on Exelon patch and Namenda, both of which helped me.  I had much testing with MRI and sleep apnea study, also a second and a third opinion doctor visits, also genetic testing for APOe4.  

After a few years I was able to get an Amyvid PET scan which showed no amyloid plaques in my brain.  My neurologist stated I did not have Alzheimer's at that time.   Of course that was great news.  But I still have cognitive impairment not otherwise specified.  It is most important to have a thorough evaluation and keep at it until you are satisfied.  Search for treatable causes of dementia mimics.  Follow Best Practices.  Read a lot and educate yourself.  Get the legal and financial work done as suggested above.  

You can only diagnose AD after other diseases have been ruled out.  Also, there are other dementias besides AD.  If you do have AD, look into the medications, they may help you.  Relieve yourself of all stress and responsibilities.  Make your home safe.  Make your life comfortable.  Do your Bucket List if you have one.  Discuss with your DH and come up with plan A and plan B for the future.  Your lives don't have to be miserable.  Being prepared is a key in not being miserable.  

I hope you have something treatable.  Check all of your medications too.  Best wishes.

Iris


Jo C.
Posted: Monday, November 22, 2021 3:13 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 12161


Hello Hildegard and a very warm welcome to you; I can understand your concern, this must be stressful for you.  Your question has two responses. 

One is in regard to insurance coverage, and the other is in regard to conditions that can actually mimic dementia but are not dementia.  A very full medical workup with an entire cafeteria menu of blood and urine labs and more is warranted when we are concerned about changes being experienced that has us concerned about dementia.

Conditions that mimic dementia but are not dementia, include but are not limited to:

-  Thyroid disorders

-  Metabolic disorders

-  Autoimmune disorders

-  Diabetes

-  Disorders of heart, lung, liver or kidneys

-  Infections including UTIs (which may not have symptoms)

-  Electrolyte disorders

-  Sleep disorders

-  Sleep apnea

 -  Depression

-  Medication effects both prescription AND OTC meds: including:  antihistamines, BP meds, cardiac meds, sedatives, asthma meds, steroids, pain pills, antidepresssants, anti-anxiety meds, antibiotics, herbal meds, supplements, and more  (Do not stop your prescribed meds without physician input and oversight)

-  Environmental toxicity to a substance

-  Alcohol use

-  Hypercalcemia

-  Vitamin deficiencies such as D3, B12 and other B vitamins, niacin, folic acid, etc (Do NOT try to take vitamins to try and treat yourself without a doctor's order for what would be appropriate for you - a simple lab test can find deficiencies.)

-  Vision and/or hearing problems

-  Normal pressure hydrocephalus

-  Tumors (rare)

-  and more

As far as insurance and pre-existing conditions; in the past, many times a new health insurance policy even through one's employer would have a clause addressing "pre-existing" conditions.  Some would not cover them for a period of time; sometimes just a period of a few to six months; others for a longer time and some not going to cover them at all.   That of course was a considerable concern.

However, since the Affordable Care Act came into being, insurance companies can no longer refuse to cover pre-existing conditions.  The only exception is a policy one has from 2010 or prior.  Here is a link to the HHS site that addresses that.  NOTE: You will want to double check that; there is an HHS telphone contact number at the bottom of the page.

https://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/about-the-aca/pre-existing-conditions/index.html

As far as one insurance being better than another for covering dementia; most of the primary care insurances including the HMOs are fairly similar in coverage.  Some plans have higher deductibles per person or per family; others cover medications better than others or some not at all.  One would have to examine and compare policies to determine what is going to be what.  If one is a Medicare patient, then one needs to purchase a Supplemental Plan to cover the hefty deductibles and equally heavy co-pays Medicare has. If one chooses a Medicare "Advantage" Program, that would be an HMO and then one does not purchase a Supplemental Plan; in fact, if one has Medicare HMO Advantage coverage, it is illegal to sell a person with such coverage any supplemental plan.

If you wish to speak to someone personally about your concerns, the Alzheimer's Assn. has a 24 Hour Helpline open 365 days a year.  There are no fees for this service.  If you do call ask to be transferred to a Care Consultant.  Consultants are highly educated Social Workers who specialize in dementia and family dynamics.  They are kind support, have much information and can often assist us in our problem solving.

As Victoria mentioned, it is a very good idea for ALL of us to have had an attorney help us get our Durable Powers of Attorney for our Healthcare, and a DPOA for Finance, along with a Trust and Will and Advance Directives spelling out our healthcare wishes for ourselves.  All of these documents are part of one package. We just had ours done about a year ago and it is a good feeling to know we have that completed.

Do let us know how you are and come here as often as you wish to talk or vent; we are all here in support of one another and that now includes you too.

J.


Hildegard
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 9:06 AM
Joined: 7/12/2018
Posts: 5


I can't figure out how to reply to one person only. Does everything just get entered on another post? Should I put the person's name in my post if I am replying to something they said?


Only discuss your Alz concerns with a lawyer. 

Why? I thought it may be better if everybody knows if it is determined that I have it for sure. I don't like keeping secrets, and I thought people will be more understanding if they know I have a medical problem.


Rescue mom
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 10:07 AM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2267


What would you tell them? Speaking just for me, I’d want more of a diagnosis. If I’m understanding right, you don’t know if you have Alzheimer’s, or another problem that can be treated.

But no matter what you have, or don’t have, it’s always good to get the POAs, advance directives, and other legal matters—things Jo mentioned—set up first thing. They can be needed for any number of problems that may arise later.. You may not need them right now, but it’s really good to get them done. You can do those without any diagnosis. 


Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 10:20 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 17587


You could be denied insurance or even certain medical treatment due to suspicion of might having Alzheimer's Disease, even though this might be illegal.  Doctors might think you don't know what you're talking about and may not take you seriously.  This happened to me.

 

 

In my case, I lost close friendships just by disclosing that I thought I might have Alzheimer's Disease.  People just don't want to hear that!  Now, I never disclose anything about my memory or cognition to people.  It is difficult for me, but I believe it must be this way or I would be shunned completely. 

 

 

You can mention a specific poster's name in your response.  You can respond to several posters or to all in one post.  

 

Iris


easy23
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 11:17 AM
Joined: 9/19/2020
Posts: 16


Hildegard - Iris is correct - some people will shun you for having cognitive problems. My husband has had people disappear on him.  And these were close friends!
Rescue mom
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 3:02 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2267


The behavior is what puts people off, no matter what name you give it (or don’t name it, the behavior is still there).  At least others know a person with dementia can’t help it.

In my experience, people *are* indeed “understanding” if they know a person has a medical problem like dementia. My DH with Alzheimer’s had very noticeable behavior problems. People were always kind and willing to help or deal with his behavior, once they knew he had Alzheimer’s. Otherwise, they came up with unpleasant reasons (drunk, drugs, just a jerk), that they were less “understanding” about.

Understanding is one thing, sticking around/socializing is a different thing, as easy said. 

But a lot of this seems like cart before the horse. Get tested, find out. The fact that you are able to have this conversation makes me think you may not  have to worry about this for a long time. But you must have reason for concern to start. So, get the tests done, get the legal paperwork done. Then see what comes next.

 


Shevie
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 9:53 PM
Joined: 11/13/2021
Posts: 15


Hildegard, prayers for your diagnosis. Great suggestions. You take good care of you. Keep in touch ok?
Iris L.
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 10:05 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 17587


Rescue Mom, we're talking different situations.  No one can look at me or speak with me and discern that I have  cognitive disorder.  I don't have any behaviors.  My comment was to warn Hildegard about letting her guard down and disclosing too much too soon to people who most likely won't understand what she is telling them.  Hence the shunning and other problems that would not occur if she were more discreet about her situation.

Iris


Hildegard
Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021 10:39 PM
Joined: 7/12/2018
Posts: 5


Thank you so much for all your opinions. It helps me to think about different options. Yes - I will be following through with getting diagnosed. And I agree about doing all those legal papers now.
Rescue mom
Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2021 11:02 AM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 2267


Iris, yes, you are right, these are different situations, and,you are different from many, if not most, people here. You don’t have those obvious behavior problems.

If people do not have noticeable problems, I’d certainly say don’t tell. Or I’d be very very careful and limited who I did tell.

Just my own experience was that once DH behavior made it very obvious something was wrong, people were understanding about Alzheimer’s. But there was no need to mention it or bring it up at all, until it was a problem.


Iris L.
Posted: Wednesday, November 24, 2021 8:03 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 17587


You're right, Rescue Mom, people can be kind and gracious to a person whom they know to have Alzheimer's Disease.  At the same time they don't usually want to sit and have a conversation or continue a social friendship.  Dementia is truly a total disease that affects in all areas of one's life, with isolation of PWD and caregiver being prevalent and disheartening.  Message boards, day cares and support groups are vital for some semblance of connection.

Iris


 
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