Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Always Heartbreaking News When Seniors Can't Afford Their Medications

By Coleen Elkins

We are in the business of helping people with their Medicare options and we get the opportunity to really listen to what is important. It is heartbreaking to meet with an aging member of our community and have them tell us they can't fill their prescriptions. Not taking prescriptions can be life threatening or shorten someone's life.

It is very stressful to be sick. It is even more stressful to be on a fixed and/or limited income and not being able to afford your medications.

How does a senior decide between paying their rent or mortgage and paying for their medications?

More than 300,000 American's are now taking medication with an annual cost of $50,000.00. Many  of the the Cancer medications cost $10,000.00 per month. Even with a Part D prescription plan the cost sharing is unaffordable. Then there is the "gap or the donut hole" where the burden is shifted back to the insured. They won't see any relief until they have spent $4700.00 out of pocket. Many of the newer drugs are not found on drug plan formularies meaning the are not covered by the plan at all.

Some can get extra help from VA benefits. Drug manufactures are offering financial assistance and often free medications to those who are the most needy. Those are not unlimited funds though and the benefits can be depleted quickly.

Many people don't know the true cost of their medications in the initial coverage stage because they are paying a copay. They are learning the hard way when they suddenly end up in the "gap".

We urge consumers that are unable to pay for their medications to let their legislators know. Call or write your Congressman. Speak out and be heard. If you don't tell them they don't know. If you don't know how to do that ask a family member or friend to help.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Going Without Health Insurance Could Have A Huge Price Tag

By Coleen Elkins

Whether you choose to call it a "tax penalty" or a "fine" in the year 2015 going without health insurance is going to be costly. The price tag is $325.00 for each adult or 2 percent of your family income, which ever is greater. This could cost a family $1,000.00 or more.

It has come down to going without health insurance is not only financially risky it is costly. The law has a mandate that the IRS is overseeing. You will answer questions on your tax return inquiring about the status of your health insurance. If you have children dental insurance is also mandatory and will automatically be added to your coverage.

There are hardship exemptions for those that fit the criteria to request an exemption. Completing forms are required to receive an exemption.

It seems that the general public is still very confused about the criteria of fulling the requirements of the law.

If you have questions about the law you can seek the services of a licensed insurance specialist focused the Affordable Care Act.  Since some of the law is related to tax penalties your tax advisor will be able to talk to you about the tax requirements of the law.

To learn more about the law visit our website 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Slowing Of Healthcare Spending Does Not Help Most Americans

By Coleen Elkins

If you noticing the cost of your health insurance increasing you are not alone. The reported slowing of healthcare cost spending is proving to not be related to the cost of health insurance. As American's are learning what their health insurance is going to cost for 2015 they are becoming more and more angry. 
American's receiving employer based benefits are spending a larger portion of their paychecks paying for it. Family health insurance costs jumped a whopping 73 percent in a ten year span from 2003 to 2013. It is similar for individuals paying for their own health insurance. At the same time deductible have more than doubled. In fact they have increased over 300 percent in the last year. 
The structure of health plans has also changed most no longer have fixed copays for doctors visit and prescription drug benefits. 
At the same time cost is going up for the consumer it is also going up for the employer and the employer is shifting cost on to the employee. If an employer plan does not meet the criteria for affordability and minimum essential coverage under The Affordable Care Act the employee may be eligible for coverage through an exchange. 
150 million Americans receive benefits from their employer. Only 7 million people have enrolled through exchanges as a result of the Affordable Care Act. That is a large contrast and somewhat dims the light of the Affordable Care and it's cost to administrate it. 
If the cost continues to rise for Americans to have benefits people may find themselves in a quandary. Purchasing health insurance that doesn't actually help pay for out pocket expenses for chronic medical conditions and prescription drugs doesn't make sense to most people.