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Legislative Report: Health care insurance, traumatic brain injury information available

Traumatic brain injury may not be an issue that is on everyone’s mind, but the recent news accounts of three young people in our area who have sustained serious injuries should bring it to everyone’s attention. Whether it is a result of diving into a body of water that was at a lower level than usual, falling off a GEM car, or tipping an all-terrain vehicle, these accidents have resulted in serious injuries.

We are fortunate to have exceptional medical care in our area which has saved these lives, but the next step for many of those who suffer such injuries is the Craig Institute in Denver, a nationally known, spinal cord rehabilitation facility. Weeks and months of challenging therapy often faces patients there, and a small victory may be moving a hand.

Returning members of the military are another group who has increased the numbers of those with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their lives have been saved on the battlefield by remarkable care, but they return home with injuries which are not apparent to others, but which severely affect their ability to focus and concentrate, in addition to those injuries which may be easily seen.

North Dakota has services to assist individuals with a traumatic brain injury, along with their families. One can contact the Regional Human Services Centers for further information, or contact me and I will forward the list of contacts for your area. There are a variety of support groups, professionals to assist with therapy, and facilities to help. If you know someone who could benefit from services, please reach out!

Federal health care reform, known as the Affordable Care Act, has resulted in establishing exchanges, now called Marketplaces, through which citizens can purchase health insurance. Open enrollment began October 1. There are glitches that are not unexpected in rolling out such a big program, but it is important for people to know whether or not their current coverage may change. Those covered by their employers, Medicare or Medicaid will not change, although some employers may be offering funding for employees to use to shop on the exchanges, rather than providing a single policy for the employees. Information on what is available can be obtained by going on or calling 1-800-318-2596. It is a good idea to visit with your current insurance agent about any changes that you might consider.

Your District 13 legislators want to hear from you, and we can be reached in the following ways:

Senator Judy Lee,, 282-6512; Rep. Kim Koppelman,, 282-9267; Rep. Alon Wieland,, 282-9470.