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Long-Haul COVID Claims

Long-Haul COVID Claims

COVID-19 has drastically changed the way we live, and it will also drastically change the long-term disability claims landscape. As more Americans contract and recover from COVID-19, the CDC is learning more about the long-term effects of coronavirus. These exist even if a patient only had mild illness and did not require hospitalization. The CDC has documented these commonly reported long-term symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Chest pain

Other reported long-term symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with thinking and concentration (sometimes referred to as “brain fog”)
  • Depression
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Intermittent fever
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (also known as heart palpitations)

More serious but less commonly reported complications include:

  • Cardiovascular: inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Respiratory: lung function abnormalities
  • Renal: acute kidney injury
  • Dermatologic: rash, hair loss
  • Neurological: smell and taste problems, sleep issues, difficulty with concentration, memory problems
  • Psychiatric: depression, anxiety, changes in mood

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html.

The research is showing that COVID-19 can be more than just a respiratory disease: it can be a gastrointestinal disease that causes diarrhea and abdominal pain. In severe cases it can cause heart failure, kidney damage, headaches, seizures, brain inflammation, Guillain-Barre syndrome, and fainting spells. Because some people can experience no symptoms at all or have lingering effects months following infection, it is difficult to diagnose the disease progression.

While most people will be able to live productive lives with many of these long-term indicators, some of these symptoms, if severe, can be debilitating. If you experience long-haul symptoms such as fatigue and difficulty with concentration which cause you to be disabled from work activities, you may be entitled to disability benefits through your employer’s disability plan. Most employer disability plans are funded through group insurance policies, commonly provided by companies such as New York Life (which acquired Cigna or Life Insurance Company of North America), The Hartford, Standard, Principal Life Insurance Company, Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, and Lincoln Life Assurance Company of Boston.

Until more is known about the long-term effects of coronavirus, insurance companies will view long-haul COVID claims skeptically. This skepticism may be fueled by treating doctors who may disbelieve or lack the information to make a proper diagnosis.

If you find yourself in this situation, it is important that you consult with an experienced ERISA long-term disability attorney to help you navigate this new terrain. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to:

  • Evaluate your employer’s disability policy to determine whether any exclusions or limitations may apply to long-haul COVID claims.
  • Strategize the best way to obtain evidence demonstrating your medical impairments cause functional limitations.
  • Rebut insurance company expert opinions which discount your symptoms or treating doctor opinions.
  • Obtain vocational evidence demonstrating that you cannot perform your own occupation or any occupation for which you may be reasonably qualified.

Due to the complexities of ERISA, insurance policies, and long-haul COVID claims, you do not want to go at it alone. If you believe you cannot work due to the long-term effects of COVID and your long-term disability claim was denied, contact Roberts Disability Law for a free consultation about your options.

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