Consumer Reports has just released a new straightforward, easy-to-understand FREE guide to help folks understand how the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will affect you and your family, now and in the future.
The guide is available in English and will be soon available in Spanish.
Free bulk copies (that look like a magazine) of the new straightforward, easy-to-understand guide to the new law are available now. For Consumer Reports to send out free copies they need you to commit to distributing at least 25 copies. Fill out this form and they will get your order started - again available in English and very soon to be in Spanish.
HARRISBURG, PA - Medicare open enrollment starts today, and AARP is urging Pennsylvania seniors and their families to carefully review their current plans to make sure they're getting the most out of their coverage.
AARP spokeswoman Cynthia Fagyas says the window of opportunity to make changes comes earlier this year.
"October 15th is early for open enrollment, and it runs 'til just December 7th, so it's an opportunity for seniors to review and make changes to their current coverage."
During open enrollment, Fagyas says, Medicare enrollees can switch plans, add a prescription drug plan or drop Medicare Advantage for a plan under original Medicare. But if you're happy with your current plan, she says, you don't have to do a thing.
Fagyas says AARP has a website with information on Medicare open enrollment, here.
She says there are four factors to consider when reviewing and comparing Medicare coverage. She calls them the four Cs.
"And those four Cs are coverage, cost, convenience and customer satisfaction, when they're thinking about making any changes to their Medicare coverage."
Fagyas cautions that there are some open enrollment options that are not reversible.
"If you do make changes to your coverage, and you drop coverage, you want to do it carefully, because you may not be able to get that coverage back once you make the change."
AARP is also offering free webinars on Medicare open enrollment.
Any changes made during open enrollment take effect January 1.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's plan to end Medicare as we know it and turn it into a voucher plan is bad enough on its face. It doesn't do anything to actually rein in health care costs. It just shifts costs -- potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars for future retirees -- from the government onto the backs of seniors.
But it gets worse. We learned over the weekend that all the extra money out of our pockets is going to give insurance companies some extra large profits. Here's President Obama, who was in Florida yesterday, describing the findings of a new study:
In fact, one report just said that by the end of the next decade, our opponent's plan would mean as much as $16 billion to $26 billion in new profits for insurance companies. So basically, your costs would rise by the thousands so that their profits could rise by the billions.
HARRISBURG, PA - Across the nation, dozens of lawsuits against manufacturers of generic drugs have been dismissed because of a decision by the Supreme Court a year ago that makes it all but impossible to sue them for failing to provide adequate warning of a drug's dangers.
Attorney Gary Leppla, who represented the family of a young woman who had an adverse reaction to a drug and died, says it's critical to know what your health insurance plan tells your pharmacist to do.
"You have the drug manufacturers, insurance companies, really dictating medical practice. Doctors have the opportunity to be aware of the risks of various medications, and yet what is used to fill a prescription is not necessarily dictated by the doctor. It happens after it leaves the doctor's desk."
Proposed legislation in Congress would force generic drug-makers to update their warning labels when a new safety issue arises.
Leppla says you should ask your pharmacist if you're getting a generic.
"I think that consumers should be aware of this proposed legislation, which hopefully would level the playing field. We need to realize that 'big pharm' and insurance companies drive this train and the consumer has very little to say, that consumers need to gain information and network."
He says nearly 80 percent of all prescriptions in the U.S. are filled with generic drugs.
"So, it's got a tremendous impact, and the threshold question is, why should I be treated different as a consumer because I was required to have my prescription filled with a generic, as opposed to the original manufactured drug?"
Insurance companies say generic drugs save money and have the same active ingredients as the brand names. As the law stands now, generic manufacturers are not required to update their warning labels, even when they are aware of new safety issues associated with a drug's brand-name equivalent. Name-brand manufacturers however are required by the FDA to update their labels.
The Supreme Court decision referred to is Pliva v. Mensing. The legislation is S 2295 and HR 4384.
ObamaCare Allows Pennsylvania Women to Take Control of Their Health
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - In a momentous step forward, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebeluis announced that--thanks to ObamaCare--47 million women nationwide will have access to free prevention-related health care services without paying out of their own pocket. This means that, beginning August 1, 2012, 2,121,806 women in Pennsylvania can take greater control over their health by having access to life-saving preventive care free of charge.
For the first time ever, Pennsylvania women will be granted access to potentially life-saving tests and services, without having to worry about costs. No longer will Pennsylvania women be at the disposal of their insurance companies, but will instead be able to take control of their well-being and make decisions to keep them healthy, catch possibly serious conditions at an earlier state and protect themselves and their families from colossal medical bills.
"Pennsylvania women shouldn't have to make healthcare decisions because of worries about cost," said Michael Morril, Executive Director of Keystone Progress. "Thanks to ObamaCare, women now have access to important preventive care measures that will go a long way towards keeping our families healthy. When we talk about access to care, this is exactly what we mean."
As Secretary Sebelius put it, "President Obama is moving our country forward by giving women control over their health care. This law puts women and their doctors, not insurance companies or the government, in charge of health care decisions."
While certain preventive care services were already mandated by the Affordable Care Act, the eight new preventative services required by the law include: well-woman visits, gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases, domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling, FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling, breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling, HPV DNA testing for women 30 or older, sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women, and finally HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.
Based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, these new provisions relied on physicians, nurses, scientists and other experts, as well as evidence-based research, to determine the services that are critical to ensuring women's long-term health. These vital preventative services will allow women to take their health into their own hands and get the care they need before it's too late.
Thanks to the ObamaCare, stable, affordable health care is becoming a reality for thousands of women and their families across Pennsylvaniaand for millions of Americans nationwide.
The Supreme Court will be announcing its decision on the Affordable Care Act in the next week or so. When that announcement is made, whatever the decision, supporters of healthcare reform will be holding events across Pennsylvania. This decision will be historic, so it's important to get our message out immediately after the announcement.
On the day of the announcement, Keystone Progress and the Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN) will hold a joint news conference at the Capitol Building at 3:00 that afternoon. The public is welcome to join us.
The day after the announcement, the following communities will be planning simultaneous local events. All events at noon, the day after the SCOTUS decision announcement unless otherwise noted.
Philadelphia--Five years after his award-winning film on the U.S. healthcare system premiered around the world, Michael Moore returns to Philadelphia with eight of the subjects of the film in tow. They'll be joined by health insurance industry whistleblower Wendell Potter who once spied on them all for the industry as the film opened back in 2007 but who now joins them in the fight for a more sane and humane healthcare system.
Moore will be on stage at Plays and Players Theater for a retrospective look at why he made SiCKO and what he hoped the film would do to advance the cause for healthcare justice and to take a look at what has happened since then as the Supreme Court rules on the Affordable Care Act and Americans are left wondering what's next for their own access to care. Patty Eakin, RN, from the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) will join in the event with many other Pennsylvania advocates for health system reform, and the national advocacy group and Philadelphia-based Healthcare-NOW.
The SiCKO subjects attending in Philadelphia include two of the three 9/11 responders from NYC, Reggie Cervantes and Billy Maher; two SiCKO subjects who lost loved ones to the broken system, Dawnelle Keys and Julie Pierce; Lee Einer, who was SiCKO's own health insurance industry whistleblower; Adrian Campbell Montgomery who slipped over the boarder to Canada to get care for herself and her young daughter; and Larry and Donna Smith, who lost everything they had to healthcare expenses though they always carried health insurance.
WHAT: Still SiCKO After All These Years, with Michael Moore, Wendell Potter and the subjects of SiCKO
WHEN: 7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 30th, 2012
WHERE: Plays and Players Theater, 1714 Delancey Street, Philadelphia
Public invited, seating is limited. Tickets Available On-line. First come, first served