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Originally appeared in my Good Reading newsletter, April, 2008

I owe more of a debt than I can ever describe to the intensive rehabilitation I was provided after my spinal cord injury on the fourth of July, 1973.

Rehab institute of Michigan
I spent seven weeks in the Detroit Rehabilitation Institute (now the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, photo above), following 6 weeks in acute care.

And they said I did it fast.

Now someone with the same injury is likely to be home after only 4 weeks (compared to my 13), barely realizing what hit them, and certainly not as prepared to get on with their lives as I was.

Rehab makes you strong. Rehab shows you how it works. Rehab helps your family adapt and prepare for coming home. And on and on and on. It makes ALL the difference.

Catastrophic care is getting the short end of the stick in the current health care environment. Here’s why.

Employees want to keep their share of insurance premiums low. Employers pass that pressure on to insurers. So catastrophic care gets cut because we’d rather have our office visits paid for.

No one knows what they’ve lost until they need it.

Go ahead. Look into what kind of rehab coverage you have. You’re likely to find a thirty day limit. Or worse.

What’s it mean? It means that, should you need it, your chances of getting back to optimal living and independence are reduced, and your chances of immobilizing depression, weight gain, secondary health deficits, dependency on entitlements, and a whole slew of other nasty stuff is greatly increased.

What’s the option? Be willing to pay for more of your standard care so insurance can do what it’s supposed to do: cover you optimally when there’s a crisis beyond your means.

Better yet: Advocate! Let your employer and insurer know you want a strong rehab benefit.

I couldn’t have lived the life I’ve lived without it.