Monday, July 27, 2015

Health Insurance and Mesothelioma

Health Insurance and Mesothelioma


For victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, the costs of diagnosis and treatment are significant. These costs are quite often high enough to make it difficult, if not impossible, to afford without the assistance of health insurance. But, individuals should be aware of limitations that insurance has when it comes to these serious diseases.


Covering the Cost


Asbestos-related diseases, like mesothelioma and other cancers, can result in significant cost to victims. Typical surgeries associated with cancer treatment cost around $40,000 (and that does not include the most aggressive or complicated surgeries). An eight-week chemotherapy cycle costs around $30,000. Monthly radiation costs around $2,000.


While most insurance plans provide coverage for diagnostic testing and treatment for mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, it is dependent on each particular plan. Even when these things are covered, it is typically only after high deductibles are met and will have high copayments.


In addition to private insurance, the U.S. government provides certain individuals with coverage. Medicare provides insurance for individuals 65 years of age and older who have a sufficient work history. There are four different types of Medicare:


  • Part A: provided to all individuals covered by Medicare, it covers in-patient hospital care, as well as in-patient care in nursing, hospice, or home facilities;

  • Part B: for an additional premium, it covers visits to doctor’s offices, laboratory costs, medical equipment, and ambulance services;

  • Part C: for an additional premium, it is a combination of Part A and B, and is provided by private insurance companies as supplemental insurance;

  • Part D: providing assistance for prescription medication costs.

Medicaid, the other large government program, provides assistance to low-income individuals. Under certain circumstances, mesothelioma treatment is covered under this program.


An issue that individuals may encounter in relation to their insurance coverage is the network of healthcare providers. For example, mesothelioma is a rare disease, making finding experts within an insurance policy’s network difficult. Unfortunately, this may make going outside of the network in order to find the best care through the use of a specialist necessary, which will increase the cost of treatment.


Affordable Care Act


The Affordable Care Act (ACA), which went into effect in 2014, provided important changes that impacted mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease, including:


  1. Easier obtainment of insurance for low-income families;

  2. Minimum insurance standards for items like cancer screenings, treatment and follow-up care;

  3. Prevention of companies from dropping individuals with life-threatening diseases (like mesothelioma);

  4. Providing for patients with pre-existing conditions (like cancer) to obtain coverage; and

  5. Eliminating annual and lifetime maximums that insurance plans will pay for cancer patients.

Compassionate Legal Help


Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are often devastating. For more information on obtaining assistance in seeking the needed benefits to help you combat these insidious diseases, contact the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group today. We understand the difficulty of fighting asbestos-related diseases and diligently fight for the victims we represent.


 


 


 


 



Health Insurance and Mesothelioma

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Asbestos and Power Plants

Power plants are massive facilities that generate and distribute energy across the nation to businesses, residences, and other structures. The development of these plants helped spur the growth of America during the twentieth century. But, along the way, they caused workers to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, which can lead to serious health complications, like mesothelioma and other cancers.


Asbestos and Power Plants


Power plants generate and harness useable power and, in the process, generate tremendous amounts of heat. As a result, the risk of potential fire is a major concern. Historically, asbestos was used to help mitigate this risk. Asbestos is a poor conductor of electricity and is resistant to heat and fire. Because of this, asbestos was widely used in insulation materials, which went into walls, wires, pipes, generators, and other machinery. Asbestos was effective at helping to prevent fire and overheating.


The use of asbestos was especially high in plants that produced electricity and in power distribution centers. During the standard operation of these facilities, asbestos fibers were often released into the air. Other places related to power plants in which asbestos was used included transformer stations, lignite mining plants, and off-site workshops.


Further placing workers in power plants at risk was the specific clothing they wore while at work. Power plant workers wear special insulated, protective clothing that, until the 1980s, also contained asbestos. Unfortunately, though many employers were generally aware of the risks of exposure to asbestos, they frequently did not inform workers of those risks.


Plant workers that were most at risk were blue collar workers. These included individuals who installed and/or maintained pipes and electrical appliances in the plant. Additionally, work involving the upgrading of machinery was dangerous, as it involved the cutting and sawing of products that contained asbestos. Further, many plant workers sprayed asbestos pulp directly onto heated materials, potentially causing exposure. Today, exposure to asbestos fibers is much more controlled and limited, though it may still occur in older plants or in plants that have not had asbestos-containing materials removed.


Asbestos Fibers


When asbestos is disturbed, it releases microscopic fibers into the air that can be breathed into the lungs. Exposure to these fibers, particularly over a long period of time, can result in the development of cancer or other serious diseases. The symptoms of the exposure may not appear for several years, or even decades. Therefore, individuals who worked in power plants many years ago, particularly before the 1980s, may have suffered life-threatening exposure to asbestos fibers, with the symptoms just now being diagnosed.


If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another disease caused by exposure to asbestos fibers, it may be possible for you to recover much-needed compensation to help with your medical battle. For more information about how this may be possible, speak with the experienced attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group. We provide compassionate and expert representation for victims of asbestos exposure.


 


 



Asbestos and Power Plants

Asbestos Risk to Insulators

Insulation is used to help in controlling and maintaining the temperature inside of buildings and homes. Unfortunately, for much of the twentieth century, insulation contained asbestos. The dangers of exposure to asbestos include the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. Individuals who are employed as insulators are at increased risk of exposure to asbestos fibers, particularly if this work occurred before the 1980s.


Asbestos Insulation 


Asbestos insulation was the largest source of exposure for workers throughout the 1900s. It was used in homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. Insulation is beneficial because it conserves energy, reduces electrical conductivity, and retains hot and cold temperatures. Before the 1980s, asbestos was extensively used in insulation materials due to its resistance to fire and heat, as well as it being a poor conductor of electricity.


Insulation was and continues to be used in attics, walls, ceilings, flooring, siding, pipe wrapping, and inside of boilers. Today, fiberglass is used instead of asbestos. However, many materials containing asbestos remain in buildings. As a result, individuals performing work on buildings or homes should be cautious about the possibility of asbestos exposure.


Asbestos Risk to Insulators


From a historical perspective, the risk of exposure to asbestos fibers was significant. For example, insulators were at great risk when they measured and cut insulation to fit around steam pipes. After cutting this insulation, insulators often stretched it open and slipped it over the pipe. Finally, the insulation was fastened securely with asbestos-containing adhesive, staples, tape, or wire bands.


The cutting, opening, and fastening of the insulation over the pipe all released microscopic fibers into the air. When breathed in, these fibers could remain the lungs for several years before developing into mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers. Further increasing the danger for insulators was the enclosed nature of the jobsites that they often worked in, even if they themselves were not working with products that contained asbestos. For example, a carpenter using materials that contained asbestos may have caused insulators to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers.


While the use of asbestos was discontinued by the 1980s, asbestos still remains in many buildings and homes today. Quite often, pipe insulation that contains asbestos is crumbly, making it dangerous because fibers are then easily released into the air. The most common form of loose-fill attic insulation is Zonolite, which was installed in millions of homes.


Insulation products that contained asbestos include:


  • Pipe covering;

  • Block;

  • Cement;

  • Felt;

  • Board;

  • Coating;

  • Seals; and

  • Tapes

Before beginning a renovation or remodeling project, it is important to make sure asbestos is not in a place which may be disturbed. If you suspect that products that will be affected by the work contain asbestos, you should contact an expert in asbestos identification and removal to ensure your safety.


Compassionate Legal Advocacy


If you believe that you have been harmed by exposure to asbestos, you should speak to a mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease attorney as soon as possible. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have personal experience in understanding the difficulty of dealing with these issues. We look forward to hearing from you.


 


 



Asbestos Risk to Insulators

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Asbestos Risk to Insulators

Insulation is used to help in controlling and maintaining the temperature inside of buildings and homes. Unfortunately, for much of the twentieth century, insulation contained asbestos. The dangers of exposure to asbestos include the development of mesothelioma and other cancers. Individuals who are employed as insulators are at increased risk of exposure to asbestos fibers, particularly if this work occurred before the 1980s.


Asbestos Risk to Insulators:  Dangers of Insulation


Asbestos insulation was the largest source of exposure for workers throughout the 1900s. It was used in homes, buildings, ships, cars, and manufacturing facilities. Insulation is beneficial because it conserves energy, reduces electrical conductivity, and retains hot and cold temperatures. Before the 1980s, asbestos was extensively used in insulation materials due to its resistance to fire and heat, as well as it being a poor conductor of electricity.


Insulation was and continues to be used in attics, walls, ceilings, flooring, siding, pipe wrapping, and inside of boilers. Today, fiberglass is used instead of asbestos. However, many materials containing asbestos remain in buildings. As a result, individuals performing work on buildings or homes should be cautious about the possibility of asbestos exposure.


From a historical perspective, the risk of exposure to asbestos fibers was significant. For example, insulators were at great risk when they measured and cut insulation to fit around steam pipes. After cutting this insulation, insulators often stretched it open and slipped it over the pipe. Finally, the insulation was fastened securely with asbestos-containing adhesive, staples, tape, or wire bands.


The cutting, opening, and fastening of the insulation over the pipe all released microscopic fibers into the air. When breathed in, these fibers could remain the lungs for several years before developing into mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers. Further increasing the danger for insulators was the enclosed nature of the jobsites that they often worked in, even if they themselves were not working with products that contained asbestos. For example, a carpenter using materials that contained asbestos may have caused insulators to be exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers.


While the use of asbestos was discontinued by the 1980s, asbestos still remains in many buildings and homes today. Quite often, pipe insulation that contains asbestos is crumbly, making it dangerous because fibers are then easily released into the air. The most common form of loose-fill attic insulation is Zonolite, which was installed in millions of homes.


Insulation products that contained asbestos include:


  • Pipe covering;

  • Block;

  • Cement;

  • Felt;

  • Board;

  • Coating;

  • Seals;  and

  • Tapes.

Before beginning a renovation or remodeling project, it is important to make sure asbestos is not in a place which may be disturbed. If you suspect that products that will be affected by the work contain asbestos, you should contact an expert in asbestos identification and removal to ensure your safety.


Compassionate Legal Advocacy


If you worked as an insulator and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, you should speak to a mesothelioma and asbestos-related disease attorney as soon as possible. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have personal experience in understanding the difficulty of dealing with these issues. We look forward to hearing from you.


 


 



Asbestos Risk to Insulators

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Asbestos Exposure for Plumbers and Pipefitters

Risk of Asbestos Exposure for Plumbers and Pipefitters


Plumbers and pipefitters, particularly those who worked between the 1940s and 1980s, are at increased risk of exposure to asbestos due to the specific materials that they dealt with as a result of their occupation. This exposure puts these individuals at risk of developing mesothelioma and other serious asbestos-related diseases. While the use of asbestos was discontinued decades ago, new cases of asbestos-related disease continue to be diagnosed today.


Plumbers and Pipefitters


Pipefitters are responsible for the design, installation, and repair of pipe systems in large commercial buildings or manufacturing facilities. For smaller projects like residential homes, similar work is performed by what is known as a plumber, as opposed to a pipefitter. However, for both pipefitters and plumbers, these pipe systems transport water, steam, air, gas, and human waste. Pipefitters and plumbers require specialized knowledge due to the high pressure that the pipes are placed under.


For much of the twentieth century, asbestos was the preferred material to be used with pipe systems due to its high heat and fire resistance. Asbestos was commonly used as thermal insulation for pipes, boilers, ducts, and tanks. Pipefitters and plumbers may have also been exposed while using repair materials. These materials included joint compounds, cement, valves, gaskets, pipe coating, and welding rods.


Further increasing exposure risk was the often very close quarters in which pipefitters and plumbers worked. While working in very tight spaces, any asbestos fibers released into the air were more likely to be breathed in. Fibers were very often released when cutting, sawing, or sanding asbestos paper to fit a particular application. This also occurred when pipes or other products containing asbestos were cut or drilled to fit specific dimensions.


Most pipe insulation took the form of either air cell (which may refer to either a brand name or a generic term for insulation) or block insulation. Air cell was used to wrap air supply ducts and may also be known as Asbestocel or Carcycel. Block insulation was a combination of asbestos and binders that, together, formed large blocks for insulation. Some forms of block insulation included Amosite sheeting and asbestos sponge felt.


Dangers of Exposure


Disturbing asbestos releases microscopic fibers into the air that, when breathed in, may remain in the lungs for several years or, in some cases, decades before the harmful effects become apparent. While many of the diagnosed cases of asbestos-related disease resulted from exposure during the period before the 1980s, asbestos can still be dangerous today. While asbestos use has long been discontinued, it was not removed from all buildings. Therefore, it is important to contact a professional before beginning a remodeling or renovation project of a home or building that may contain asbestos.


Helping Victims


If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or an asbestos related cancer, you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At the Throneberry Law Group, we fight for victims of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.


 



Asbestos Exposure for Plumbers and Pipefitters

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease that often develops as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers. In combating this disease, the financial costs are often significant. This can create, along with the battle with the disease itself, a great deal of emotional distress for victims and their families.


Development of Mesothelioma


Individuals exposed to microscopic asbestos fibers may be at risk of developing mesothelioma. The risk of exposure was highest during the period between the 1940s and 1980s. However, it is still very possible to encounter asbestos today. There are three major types of mesothelioma: pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial. Pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lung’s protective lining, is the most common form, accounting for about three-quarters of all mesothelioma cases.


Mesothelioma Treatment Costs


It has been estimated that the total cost of mesothelioma treatment can range between $150,000 to over $1 million. The cost varies for different individuals, depending on factors such as the age of the victim, the stage of the mesothelioma, and the overall health status of the victim. Costs for mesothelioma include, but are not limited to, the following:


  1. Physicians and other healthcare providers;

  2. Hospitalization, including potential surgery;

  3. Chemotherapy;

  4. Radiation treatment; or

  5. In some cases, airfare or driving expenses and lodging in order to travel to facilities that provide treatment.

Additionally, the two most common medications used in treatment, Alimta and Cisplatin, cost around $4,100 for one treatment cycle. Under most circumstances, more than one cycle will be required with no guarantee that it will result in a cure.


Earlier diagnosis increases the chance for survival, which, of course, is the best possible outcome. But, earlier diagnosis often leads to higher costs of treatment. This is particularly true of asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma because the effects, historically, often did not become apparent until there was very little that could be done in terms of treatment. As the ability to diagnosis mesothelioma earlier becomes possible, the amount and range of treatment options increases, which increases costs.


Mesothelioma Treatment Costs:  Paying for Treatment


Some of the treatment for mesothelioma are covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. If an individual does not have the costs fully covered by those sources, financial assistance information is available through social services units at hospitals, the Cancer Information Network, or the American Cancer Society. Needing financial help is common, particularly for individuals who are forced to stop working as a result of having mesothelioma. This is often why pursuing legal action against manufacturers or employers responsible for the exposure to asbestos is so critical to victims.


Compassionate Legal Advocacy


Even today, new diagnoses of mesothelioma are made in victims who were exposed to asbestos fibers decades ago. Unfortunately, because of the potential long dormancy period of asbestos fibers in the lungs, this will likely continue for many more years. If you believe that you have been harmed as a result of exposure to asbestos fibers, contact the experienced mesothelioma law attorneys at the Throneberry Law Group.


 



Mesothelioma Treatment Costs

Monday, June 22, 2015

W.R. Grace and Libby Mine

W.R. Grace and Libby mine located in Libby, Montana contained a deposits of asbestos that continues to receive attention from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today. While the cleanup effort in Libby has been extensive, the dangers of the mine are present throughout the nation. This is because the vermiculite containing asbestos mined from Libby was used extensively in insulation materials shipped to all parts of the country.


What is Asbestos?


Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that, when exposed to extremely high temperatures, expands from 8 to 30 times its original size. The result is a lightweight, fire-resistant, and odorless product that was found very well suited for use in insulation placed in walls and attics. The source of the majority of asbestos sold in the United States from 1919 to 1990 was from the Libby mine. The asbestos that was used in insulation by W.R. Grace was sold under the brand name Zonolite. The Zonolite products included Zonolite Super 40, Zonolite Mono-Kote and Zonolite plaster.


In 1963, W.R. Grace took over operations of the mine. At that time, W.R. Grace was aware of the asbestos and that it caused health issues, but did not disclose this to workers or townspeople, and mining continued.


As a result of the widespread use of the asbestos mined from Libby, insulation containing asbestos ended up in homes across the country, where it may still remain today. Disturbing asbestos is dangerous because it releases microscopic fibers into the air which can then be breathed in. These fibers may remain in the lungs for many years before the harm they can cause is detected.


EPA Response to Libby


In 1999, the EPA began an extensive cleanup process of Libby. By 2010, the EPA had cleaned 1,460 business and residences, removing approximately 900,000 cubic yards of materials contaminated with asbestos. The EPA is currently operating a public comment period on its proposed plan for the continuing cleanup in Libby. This comment period ends July 8, 2015. This demonstrates the significant danger that the Libby mine and site continues to present, as 16 years after cleanup first began, the EPA continues to have concern over the site.


U.S. Department of Justice Response to W.R. Grace and Libby Mines


In 2005, W.R. Grace and seven W.R. Grace executives were indicted for knowingly endangering the Libby, Montana residents and concealing information of the health effects of the W.R. Grace mining operations. The criminal case lingered in the court system with pretrial proceedings reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. By 2009, W.R. Grace had paid millions in medical bills to Libby residents, but was acquitted of charges it knowingly harmed the people of Libby and participated in any cover-up.


Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause mesothelioma and other serious health conditions. If you believe you have been harmed by asbestos exposure and would like more information about your legal options, contact us today. The Throneberry Law Group provides compassionate legal representation across the country to victims of asbestos exposure.


 



W.R. Grace and Libby Mine