Libby, Montana - Victims of asbestos exposure from the W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine in Libby, Montana have until November 20 to enroll in the Libby Medical Trust Plan, an off-shoot of the Libby Medical Program, voluntarily created by Grace to provide coverage for particular asbestos-related illnesses.
An article in the Daily Inter Lake explains that the program is available to anyone diagnosed with asbestos diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, linked to exposure to the asbestos-tainted Grace mine, which operated in the small town of Libby from 1963 until it closed in 1990. Several hundred individuals living in and around Libby have already died due to asbestos exposure and a few thousand are now ill.
Though there isn’t a definite formula for dispensation of the trust monies at this time, Brian Bailey, a Kalispell independent health-care insurance specialist who is assisting in developing a distribution plan, reported that the plan would most likely “reimburse people with asbestos disease $100 a month for their Medicare Part B premium and an additional $30 monthly for having adequate prescription or medical insurance coverage. These payments would be distributed twice a year, with a maximum annual payout of $1,560.”
“Adequate” coverage could include Medicare Part D, a Medicare Advantage or Medicare supplement, Veterans Administration or employer-based coverage, noted an informational letter sent to patients by the Center for Asbestos-Related Disease in Libby, a clinic that has cared for hundreds of asbestos victims through the years. It is expected that the trust will last for 3 to 4 years, depending on the number of claims.
Applications for the trust plan are available at the CARD clinic or by contacting Bailey Insurance at 752-7676 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. “If you are represented by a lawyer, or if you are currently on the Grace Libby Medical Plan,” the article states, “trust overseers already have verification of your exposure and disease. If not, you must submit proof of your exposure in Libby and asbestos-related disease.
W. R. Grace has been paying more than $2 million annually in health-care expenses through the Libby Medical Program, which was initiated in 2000. There is hope that the trust will help to continue to alleviate some of the costs associated with treatment for victims of asbestos diseases, including mesothelioma, a very aggressive form of cancer.