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Monday, June 17, 2013

Pittsburgh: Pulse on the Road

A gloriously sunny day greeted us in Pittsburgh for our fourth Pulse on the Road in 2013, on Saturday, June 15. Greeted by Alison Yazer, executive director for the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of NHF, about 18 families attended the event. Speakers Michelle Rice, public policy director of NHF, and Ruthlyn Noel, senior reimbursement specialist at Baxter Healthcare Corporation, were on hand to share their knowledge of current health care reform.

Laurie Kelley and Alison Yazer
Pennsylvania has had a lot of activity regarding the Affordable Care Act, and the audience was itching to ask questions. Ruthlyn presented a one hour talk on the ACA; I followed with a short presentation on the importance of choosing a healthcare plan; Michelle then presented her highly regarded workshop, in which participants actually compare plans and crunch numbers and in the end, tell us which plan is best for their budget!

The audience peppered the speakers will excellent questions; this could be one of our liveliest audiences yet! I think there was a lot of deep concern about the ability of the government to take over aspects of our health care. Some of the highlights of the Q&A:

Ruthlyn Noel talks about the ACA
• The Federal government will run the Marketplace for individuals, not the state of PA
      (The Marketplace, formerly known as exchanges, is a web-based program that allows people to    
compare many different healthcare plans based on benefits and costs to assess the best one for each person)
• If you make $25,000 a year, subsidies will be almost 100%
• You don't have to be uninsured to take advantage of the Marketplace
Michelle Rice presents NHF's
Insurance Toolkit
• If you work for a large employer, you can't drop your plan and go to the Marketplace; if you do, you won't get any subsidies
• Insurance companies know who you are! Don't ignore your insurance issues just because you don't want them to know you have a bleeding disorder. Believe us, they know! They know your product, whether you have an inhibitor, your severity level.
• Without the Marketplace, you could waste hours trying to compare plans (Aetna has over 200 plans, for example!
• Coverage is not the same year to year, even with the same insurance carrier. Read you policy book annually!
• We often look at cost only of a plan, but also look at what you get for the cost, the benefits
• Sometimes factor covered under Pharmacy benefits looks more affordable, but more and more we are seeing specialty tiers... instead of a flat rate copay (like $50), you could instead pay a percentage of your drug, like 10%. 10% of factor is unaffordable!
• NHF is supporting a bill in Congress to do away with specialty tiers.

Go NHF! Thanks to everyone who attended our event!! And thanks to Baxter for sponsoring the entire event, and to the Western Penn Chapter for hosting this.

Laurie Kelley with Delores J, and children
With Conor!

Relaxation Time! Zoraida Rosado, Michelle Rice
and Laurie Kelley

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