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No More Pre-Existing Conditions! December 24, 2013

Posted by Admin in Diary, Healthonymous.
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January 1, 2014 is a day I’ve been looking forward to for more than 28 years. No more pre-existing conditions for me. The moral of my story is  – “It could happen to you”.

Dear YoungInvincibles @YI_Care : I was once one of you. Healthy, able to get life and health insurance ‘on demand’.  I ran 10k races in college, skied in the winter and hiked in the summer. Then age 26 came along and my medical care changed forever. I found a lump in my breast. 

Off I went to the doctor, who assured me that I was “too young” to worry about this hard, fixed in place, not painful lump. I had to manage up and advocate for myself to get a mammogram. So I finally got a mammogram (not always effective in young women with dense, perky breasts) and what do you know, the lump I had found was real-and could be cancerous. But they were skeptical, due to my age.

About this time, my doctor asked for my health history and I realized I had no idea if anyone in my family had ever had cancer. “Mom, what did your mother die from at age 45 during WW2?” -Oh- lung and breast cancer……gee thanks. Gulp. And why didn’t I know this before?

That didn’t matter, because now we had to biopsy my big lump.  There was no Breast Cancer Fund, no Internet, there was no Susan Love Research Foundation. There were three books on breast cancer available. One was on plastic surgery-scratch that. I was a busy financial advisor and barely had time for this surgery, let alone another one! Yes, I was a Yuppie. Then there was this one- First, You Cry by NBC correspondent Betty Rollins. I read it, but took small comfort from the story. The third one was apparently not memorable, but we bought it.

Here’s my point, YoungInvincibles; you might not get cancer in your 20’s, but anything else can happen. I didn’t ask to get cancer in my 20’s. And although I had some increased family risk, this wasn’t even the worst thing that could have taken me to the hospital. A skiing accident might have made me a quadriplegic; a car wreck could have placed me in rehab, or e.coli could have killed me!

If I hadn’t had health insurance, me or my family might have had to cover the cost of my 2 surgeries (first one didn’t get all the cancer cells), 8 weeks of radiation treatment and follow-ups ourselves. I might have entered my 30’s with unpaid medical debt. Did you know medical bankruptcy is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.?

#GetCovered for your wallet. #GetCovered for fewer surprises.

#GetCovered for your health and the Ten Essential Health Benefits.

Shocked, shocked to learn about gambling (I mean Obamacare) November 7, 2013

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous, huh?.
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I read this headline in The Atlantic about ACA/Obamacare information and was shocked (as in Casablanca) and for real!
There are multiple states that prevent or limit their ACA navigators (information helpers hired to work in each state) from discussing the benefits of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act). Is your state one of them? Hint: None are on the West Coast. Some oaf them are red.

“States that resisted Obamacare in the first place seem to be, unsurprisingly, the same ones that are wary of the navigators.”

For a list of states and restrictions, look here.

How low will they stoop-I guess this lowers the bar again in the limbo game.

health.care.human.right

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Women and the Affordable Care Act October 13, 2013

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Women.
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An estimated 7 million will be able to receive premium support when enrolling in plans on the new exchanges.

An estimated 7 million will be able to receive premium support when enrolling in plans on the new exchanges.

The Affordable Care Act requires an expansion of Medicaid that would increase the percentage of U.S. women with health insurance, with the anticipated benefit of improved health.

The Affordable Care Act improves coverage for important preventive services and maternity care, promotes higher quality care for older women, and bans health insurers from requiring women to pay more for the same insurance coverage as men.

 

Why aren’t members of the media asking certain elected officials why they are against these provisions? Why don’t we hear questions like,

Congresswoman, Congressman, or Representative X, why are you against:

  1. health coverage for poor people,
  2. better coverage for women and men,
  3. expanded mental health benefits (as you all wanted after Newtown) and
  4. improved prescription drug and maternity coverage to help poor women and poor mothers?

Why not ask your own House Congressmembers this question!

Speaker Boehner on Exemptions: Fact or Fiction? September 30, 2013

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Today Speaker Boehner mentioned an Obamacare exemption for Congress. For the umpteenth time, Congress members are NOT exempt from the ACA coverage aka  Obamacare. There are many sources that dispel this notion, including in the ACA itself. But, under the ACA rules, people who have coverage through their employer weren’t necessarily going to shop for plans on the exchanges. Here’s one.

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the weekend, an entry one of my Congress member’s Facebook page read:I’ll sign up for Obamacare when you do!”

The Congress member replied: “I’ll be joining the same exchange as my constituents on January 1. My staff will get their insurance from the exchanges as well.”

And in this factcheck.org post, they remind us that since 2010, they’ve been debunking the exemption myth. Since it isn’t true and probably the Speaker knows that; I’m guessing that this is dog-whistle code (only certain members of the base can hear it) for raising money.

English: A yellow dog whistle

English: A yellow dog whistle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, it got more confusing and is evolving as I post. Let’s see if I can get this right:

Since some employers including the federal government, offer 75% or more towards the cost of each employee’s health care, Republicans construed that as a subsidy in the ACA. So they wanted that subsidy taken away (unlike for other major employers). In August then there was a proposal to remove the employer subsidy.  Some people describe this as ‘throwing the staffers under the bus”. This has been called an exemption-I find that confusing.

Grabbing Congressional staffers money

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Full Coverage “for some people” August 2, 2013

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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After the attacks at the Boston Marathon, I was wondering about how the victims would be covered for their injuries. Who pays?

Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown.

Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How would  “Romneycare” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts work?  The answer is better than in the other 49 states, initially.

Here’s why: According to an article in the Huffington Post,

“Yet, given the extensive nature of some patients’ injuries, including lost limbs, there will be ongoing medical and rehabilitative costs that may not be covered by health insurance or by the Massachusetts safety net program. “The breadth of coverage could leave some people with some uncovered expenses given the severity of some of the potential injuries,” Bigby said. The Health Safety Net Program is limited to hospital costs.”

Then I read this on a Facebook page,

“There is something fundamentally flawed in our nation’s health care policy when the Boston bomber is having his medical bills paid for by the taxpayers he attacked, and the victims are resorting to seeking donations online.”

Corporate marathon sponsors are raising money for victims’ health care with a new foundation called The One Fund. ($31.1 million raised as of August.). Even a brewery is giving away money to another fund, the Greg Hill Foundation. Sometimes the funds raised take months to get to the people who need the money.

Hopefully this situation will be different.

Participants in the 2010 Boston Marathon in We...

Participants in the 2010 Boston Marathon in Wellesley, just after the halfway mark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Got Pre-Existing Conditions? Romney or Obama Health Plan? October 4, 2012

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Healthonymous.
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As seen on Slate.com this morning-about pre-existing conditions and Obamacare.

Here’s an admission from Governor Romney’s advisor, Eric Ferhnstrom:

Pressed by TPM’s [Talking Points Memo] Evan McMorris-Santoro, Fehrnstrom said those who currently lack coverage because they have pre-existing conditions would need their states to implement their own laws — like Romney’s own Massachusetts health care law — that ban insurance company from discriminating against sick people.

“We’d like to see states do what Massachusetts did,” Fehrnstrom said. “In Massachusetts we have a ban on pre-existing conditions.”

[emphasis added by me]

If you have a pre-existing condition, the President’s plan (already the law), provides for no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions (think chronic conditions, cancer, diabetes etc.). But if Governor Romney is allowed to repeal Obamacare, then each state would have to push through their own versions of protections instead.

No guarantees there.

The Republicans are big on freedom. Before PPACA was passed, you could be trapped in your job with employer-provided health coverage, if you had a child with epilepsy or diabetes and they had been born AFTER you began work at your current company. Why? Because they would have been uninsurable with an individual plan or for a period under a new employer plan.

I knew two people who could never change jobs before PPACA was voted into law.

No freedom for them.

There is now.

English: President Barack Obama's signature on...

English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ASU Student Gets “Full Coverage” – After CEO Answers Tweets September 23, 2012

Posted by Admin in Cancer, Health Insurance.
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I am a little late to this story, but did you hear about the ASU student health plan and it’s, shall we say, ‘irregularities’?

Read this blog post from the NYTimes.

Excerpt: Arijit Guha, 31, a New York native who was raised in Ohio, learned he had cancer in February 2011 after developing debilitating stomach pain following a trip to India. During surgery, the doctors found the cancer had spread to his abdominal lining, and they removed most of his colon, leaving him with a colostomy. Since then he has undergone more surgery and chemotherapy or, in his words, been “filleted, disemboweled and then bathed in hot poison.”

Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s C.E.O.
Aetna Inc., via Associated PressMark T. Bertolini, Aetna’s C.E.O.

A doctoral student at Arizona State University, Mr. Guha was insured under an Aetna Student Health plan for which he paid $400 a month. The plan initially covered his care, but in February, Mr. Guha’s treatment costs reached the $300,000 cap on the insurance plan, leaving the student with $118,000 in medical bills. read more

Thank you so much Arijit Guha.

  • For taking the time and energy to act for both yourself and the rest of the ASU health plan participants during your illness.
  • For being willing to share the details of your illness @Poop_Strong on Twitter
  • For serving as a catalyst for Aetna to take action on the plan for  all ASU students
  • And alerting all of us to this ridiculously low lifetime cap that could be attached to our college students’ health plans. $300,000 before-$2,000,000 now.

@Poop_Strong, I salute your persistence,  and your continued good health!

Affordable Care Act Perspective (as we wait for SCOTUS) June 22, 2012

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, Health Quote of the Week, Healthonymous.
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Coming soon to a bank account near you!

Source for above data: The Commonwealth Fund Survey.

And Exhibit B  is about the Affordable Care Act‘s provision for young people under age 26…It has worked! More than 3 million young adults have care now….Including my own child…..

To quote groobiecat.com

So, if you’re under 26 and are covered under your parents’ policy and are unemployed–and you still think the two parties are the same?–could you please get them to remove you from the policy coverage? Thanks!

Wonder if any of our nation’s Republican public servants or donors are going to remove their children from coverage…..

 

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Shout out for author T. R. Reid on global health care October 6, 2010

Posted by Admin in Authors, Health Insurance.
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In my house growing up, TR was definitely Teddy Roosevelt, but we’ll have to add space for T.R. “Tom” Reid, the lively, well-traveled NPR commentator and the former Tokyo and London bureau chief for the Washington Post.  As he said last night when discussing a foreign posting,

“Oh, when newspapers had money.”

TR poses three questions to his audiences:

  1. How do other countries provide universal health coverage for their citizens?
  2. Why do they provide this coverage for their citizens?
  3. And lastly, why doesn’t the United State feel that we need to provide universal health coverage for its’ citizens?

He stated, that if we could answer that moral question, then it would be easier for the country to move forward. Read more about T. R. here.

 

PS: A “bonus” slide show included different types of cigarette warnings on boxes in Germany, France and Canada. The point was how much bigger the warnings are in other countries, [just like their health care coverage]. Here is a similar one:

 

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=cigarette+warnings&iid=1766938″ src=”http://view4.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/1766938/graphic-images-cigarette/graphic-images-cigarette.jpg?size=500&imageId=1766938″ width=”396″ height=”594″ /]

 

And a Russian one:

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=cigarette+warnings&iid=9433969″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9433969/russia-introduces-new/russia-introduces-new.jpg?size=500&imageId=9433969″ width=”500″ height=”333″ /]

 

Shame on Juan Williams on NPR WeSat March 20, 2010

Posted by Admin in Health Insurance, huh?.
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We heard the Fox News Juan Williams this morning, filling in for Daniel Schorr. I met Juan Williams briefly at an event commemorating Brown vs. Board of Education.

This Juan was not that Juan.

Maybe Juan and I each live in our own little narrowcasted worlds. He said, the health care bill is “unpopular with the American people” and that “most Americans oppose the package as it stands”. This right after the NPR newscast had just listed more groups that were in favor of the bill-including the AFL-CIO, the AMA and the AARP.

Guess over 50 year olds, physicians and union members don’t count in Juan’s world. Not to mention the Catholic nuns and hospitals that should be mentioned any time a member of the media mentions the bishops. For me, a nun trumps a bishop, but then, I’m not Catholic.

Scott didn’t even challenge Juan’s reiteration of many rumors that got media coverage in the last nine months (a definite pregnancy) but were NOT in fact true.  I will not give them search engine credence by mentioning them here.  NPR continues its’ habit this year of not challenging anyone on the hard questions. Listen to the BBC or Democracy Now sometime-their reporters aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions.

NPR, I expect better from you!

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