The Doctor’s Corner: 3 Exciting New Developments

Several new advances in treatment and testing have provided hope to the sufferers of several different medical conditions who are all too familiar with disability insurance. We often discuss conditions such as chronic back pain, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other conditions that routinely leave patients unable to perform the material and substantial duties of their occupation. Fortunately, every day we get more and better treatments to relieve these debilitating conditions. As research continues and makes advances, some people who were previously permanently totally disabled may be able to find relief and recovery. As we’ve done in the past, today’s post is going to focus on some advances that are particularly relevant to claimants receiving disability benefits.

Surprising research on the effectiveness of steroid shots for lower back pain: Currently, epidural steroid injections are one of the most common non-surgical treatment for lower back pain. However, new analysis by researchers at John Back painHopkins has shown that these steroid injections may be unnecessary. Their analysis shows that injections of saline and local anesthetic (such as Lidocaine) into the space around the spinal cord are as effective in relieving pain as steroid injections. Steroid injections have become increasingly controversial due to the debate between the usefulness of the treatment weighed against the side effects caused by these powerful chemicals. The side effects of an epidural steroid injection include raising blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, slowing wound healing, and an exacerbation of bone disease in older women. In addition, the number of steroid shots a patient may receive per year is limited, and there is always a risk of contamination leading to diseases such as fungal meningitis. While researchers admit that a larger study is needed before recommending that patients stop receiving epidural steroid injections, this is a good step towards reducing the side effects and risks of treatment of lower back pain.

New success in blocking the progression of Type 1 Diabetes: Using a drug originally marketed to treat psoriasis, researchers have been able to effectively block the progression of type 1 diabetes. A multi-center study has shown that patients receiving injections of the drug Alefacept were producing the same amount of insulin one year later as opposed to the placebo group, which saw their insulin production drop as is expected in cases of type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes cannot be reversed or cured with current treatment, and the long-term complications include stroke, circulatory problems in extremities, heart disease, and visual impairments. This experimental treatment was also well-tolerated by the group, experiencing no serious adverse events during the study. The results of this study lend to the efficacy of the drug protocol, which will lead to larger population studies and possibly a new and better weapon in the arsenal against diabetes.

Dietary supplement may be able to reverse Alzheimer’s disease: In a small but intriguing study, researchers have been able to reverse the brain deterioration in Alzheimer’s patients using an extract consisting of aloe vera and several other key nutrients. The extract had few side effects and improved cognitive function in 46% of the patients, including several who were able to drastically reverse the symptoms of the disease. After 9 months of receiving the aloe verasupplement, nearly half of the patients scored significantly higher on a cognitive examination, saw improved immune function, and averaged a 377% increase in stem cell production. This study examined patients across the spectrum of Alzheimer’s, from the severely impaired to those who had been recently diagnosed with the disease. Researchers hope that this study will lead to a larger-scale test that will enable a new treatment protocol for this horrible disease.

Although these treatments provide hope for claimants suffering from these conditions, they are still far from being considered appropriate care for the conditions by the insurance companies. Until these treatments and others like it are vetted further and become approved and accepted by the medical community, it’s important for claimants to continue the courses of treatment recommended by the attending physicians. As time goes on, we will continue to find cures for previously incurable conditions and help many of the affected return to their jobs and live normal lives again. Until then, it’s important to protect your rights and make sure you receive the disability benefits you deserve while you can’t work.

If you have any questions about your disability claim, or would like more information, please visit our website to sign up for a free consultation or call us toll-free at (855) 828-4100.

3 Major Questions of a Total and Permanent Disability Claim

While most sufferers of chronic back pain are able to recover and return to work in varying capacities, there are many people who experience such severe and debilitating pain that they will never be able to hold a normal job again. Claimants who suffer from such severe conditions are initially approved for their disability benefits, but this may be just the beginning of a long and winding road for claim investigations that can be opened and reopened for years on end. Insurance companies won’t acknowledge what total and permanent represents and require regular and appropriate care for the conditions causing the pain throughout the duration of the claim and can also require other documents ranging from tax returns to activity logs. Insurance companies can also reopen investigations at any time and restart the review process all over again. If you have been approved for benefits and don’t expect to return to work anytime soon, there are several issues you should consider to help reduce the stress going forward in the claims process.

Three of the most common issues we hear about from claimants in this situation are surveillance, settlements, and what the insurance company considers to be appropriate care for the condition. I will touch on each of these topics as well as a few other key issues prevalent in these types of claims. Continue reading

Insurance Investigators: An Inside Look At Their Techniques

We’ve often mentioned insurance company investigators and their tactics as extremely adept at developing reasons to deny legitimate disability claims. Insurance companies like to hire former FBI agents and police detectives who have been specifically taught to treat their targets as adversaries and be cynical of any answers – which they innocently refer to as being professional. These investigators have undergone specialized training on how to dig up information and how to conduct interviews that can be twisted against claimants and used by claims examiners to deny disability claims. Due to our connections, our firm has seen some of the confidential training materials used by disability claims operations that help provide insight into the investigative techniques and methods used to interview claimants. This information can be invaluable to claimants, allowing them to more properly prepare for the interview, whether it’s a scheduled appointment or an unannounced visit. Today’s blog is going to breakdown and summarize some of the key points to help you handle an interview and understand the underlying purposes for the questions.   Continue reading

March Madness: Our Elite Eight Blog Posts

What a difference a year makes! Where does the time go?

We’ve been writing articles for this blog for over a year, and we’ve learned as many things from our readers as we hope you’ve learned from us. As our topics have grown and more readers have found us, we wanted to make sure that some of our posts don’t get lost in the noise of the Internet and buried deep away where claimants would less likely be able to find help. In the spirit of the NCAA basketball tournament, we’re going to go through our most popular blog posts as well as highlight some posts that we think include topical, valuable information that may be helpful in your disability claim. Thanks again for reading our blog over the past year and making us one of the top-rated destinations for disability claim advice and help.  While we hope you never have any problems with your conditions or your claim, we’ll continue to be here to read, just in case, for years to come!

Continue reading

Our Top 3 Alternative Treatments for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is a condition that presents a challenging claim scenario because of the difficult nature of the diagnosis, the many testing options, and the wide variety of treatment plans prescribed by physicians.  Each of these factors relate to one another in a disability, and all need to be well documented in a disability claim.  However, this does not mean that you have to blindly follow a physician’s treatment plan.  There are many alternative treatments that are safe to use in conjunction with your recommended care and treatment and will help reduce the stress and suffering caused by chronic pain syndrome.  Alternative treatments are common among our clients, so we’d like to mention the three most often used alternative treatments.  Therapies and results vary from person to person, and what works for one individual may not work for another.  Before starting any alternative course of therapy, please do prudent research to allow you to discuss it with your treating physician.  Most importantly, never abandon a treatment plan prescribed by your doctors.  Research and discuss alternatives to be an engaged patient but don’t abandon it.   Continue reading

Obesity and Its Effects On Disability Claims

Obesity has become a major health problem in the United States, affecting healthcare providers and insurance companies.  Although obesity is seldom a cause for disability in and of itself, it can cause or complicate a number of different conditions that can cause people to become disabled.  In addition to a declining quality of life, obesity can lead to cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cataracts, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, cancer, pulmonary diseases, and sleep apnea, among other disorders.  If you’re suffering from any of these conditions and are also obese, curing your condition and regaining your life is an on-going battle.  The fatigue and lack of mobility that often accompany cases of obesity make it more difficult to perform the duties of many careers, even without considering the problems caused by any accompanying complicating medical conditions.  Reducing obesity is one of the best ways to reduce stress on your body and your life, but that’s not always an option due to people’s circumstances.  And our discussion is not going to address the relationships between obesity, certain drug side-effects, and/or mental conditions – that’s a topic for another day.  Today, I’m going to approach the topic of obesity in two ways: offering advice on how to deal with your existing disability claim while suffering from obesity, as well as sharing a few basic tips on how to reduce your weight in ways that can help prevent a disability claim in the future.

Continue reading

10 Ways to Protect Your Disability Claim in 2013

The new year is always a good time to review the events of the past 12 months and see what you can do to improve your life over the next 12 months.  If you’re dealing with health problems and a resulting disability insurance claim, this is also a great time to review the status of your claim and find ways to make the claim process stronger, simpler, and better.  This can be done in whichever stage of the claims process you’re in.  Whether you are still considering filing a claim, are waiting on a decision from the insurance company, are receiving benefits, or are facing a claim denial, it’s important to stay on top of your claim.  Insurance companies are always looking for new strategies to increase profits and reduce claims, so you should always try and stay one step ahead of them.  These 10 ways to protect your claim can help reduce your stress and work required on your disability claim over the next 12 months.  Like most things, maintaining a strong disability claim is easier than rehabilitating a claim when it breaks (or is denied).  Continue reading

Winter Weather and Asthma Complications

To many people who work outdoors and even those who don’t, winter can be a time of discomfort and coping with a number of different cold weather-induced conditions.  One of the more common reasons clients contact us around this time of year revolves around the weather and its intensifying effects on their conditions.  While many conditions seem more manageable during the warmer months, some conditions can make work unbearable when the thermometer drops.  Today, I’m going to talk about weather-induced asthma and how to try to cope with this condition during cold weather. Continue reading

Finding The Proper Disability Insurance Policy For You

Many claimants who contact our offices know little about disability insurance.  Some are aware that they have disability insurance and need help, while others don’t even know what kind of policies they have and just happen to find our firm while trying to figure out their next steps.  Most people realize the need for disability insurance but because it’s bundled in group packages from their employer, they have never seen their actual policy and  know little of their coverage rules and limitations.  When the time unexpectedly comes to file a claim for benefits, disability insurance companies capitalize on this lack of knowledge and use it to place some claimants at a significant disadvantage when initially filing their claim for benefits.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.  Information is available to learn about the risks you face of becoming disabled, different types of policies and options, and how you can protect yourself and your income.  Doing this homework before purchasing a disability policy will help ensure that you have an understanding when you have to file a claim for benefits while you’re disabled along with the comfort that you and your family is protected if something prevents you from earning a living or continuing in your job.  This ounce of preparation will allow you to use disability insurance for its intended purpose:  to reduce the risks of everyday life.   Continue reading

Around the Nation: News and Insight From Across the DI World

In the past few weeks, there have been some interesting news articles that either impact the landscape of the disability insurance industry or affect how disability benefits may be awarded in the future.  As a disability claim consultancy firm, we accept our challenging responsibility to stay current on industry news and realize that many don’t have the time or ability to keep up with the volume or focus of information.  There are developments in many different fields that can have a direct impact on disability insurance and individual claims, from new medical research to job programs to court decisions.  Taking the time to research our industry allows us to stay current on the best claims presentation and handling processes and updates the ways we interact with our clients and the recommendations we make about their disability claims.  We hope that seeing how we keep our clients up to date on news and developments helps your own decision-making process and builds trust in the disability claim community.  Of course, the only problem is that change and developments never stop.  While these topics were current when this blog post was written, everyday they become a little more outdated.  Please stay tuned for future news and updates.  Continue reading