Thursday, October 23, 2014

More Obamacare Destruction

Got benefits information in the mail. No other way to say it other than- we are screwed. In 2015, we will have a separate OOP Max for prescriptions of $5700 if we choose the same PPO our plan has morphed into since the law passed. Once we reach $5700, THEN our plan will pay for all meds 100%, except for the lifesaving meds no longer covered. Plus we still have the $7500 OOP Max for medical fir a total of $13200 OOP Max per year. Plus all the things that aren't covered, like the $650 per month fir our sons' lifesaving medications. 

Or we can choose a high deductible HSA plan where we have to pay $4055.69 in January for my son's IGG (blood product he infuses weekly) This plan doesn't pay anything for meds until a $3000 deductible is met, then pays 80% after that. IGG costs over $8k a month. The second month, because our deductible will have been met, IGG will cost us $1655.69. We'd have $650 for the life saving meds no longer covered.... Plus all the things not covered by insurance. 

Pics of plan changes and IGG costs following this paragraph. We just got back from Cincy where my son saw a neurosurgeon. There is a possibility his spinal cord is retethered, so we have to go back in February for some muscle testing and another MRI. This means we will likely incur over 10k of medical expenses in the first two months of next year. Their bone marrow biopsies are in May. We don't know if their doctors are in the HSA plans network. If you like your plan, you can't keep your plan. Liars. Everyone of them lied to the American people. 

I think this is the end of the line for our family. I don't know how we afford any of this. 

To comply with Obamacare:
Our insurance pays over 8k a month (not including our copay) for the blood product my son infuses weekly:

This has been brought to you by Barack Obama and the Democrats....and the Republicans who funded Obamacare. My family cannot afford this and all the other medical expenses. I came home from a week at the hospital with my youngest to this. Great. 












Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Obamacare is More than Insurance Exchanges

I was recently scheduled to be on a national news show, but was canceled at the last minute because it was realized we had private insurance. The producer didn't understand how I could blame Obamacare for our cost increases and lifesaving meds no longer being covered because we have employer based benefits/private insurance. We'd just left the hospital and I was making my way through insane traffic to get to the studio on time. I had one minute to plead my case. I lost. Ebola won out... 4 of us were supposed to be on. Only one doctor made it- the other 3 of us were cut. So, I'm not sure if it was Ebola last week or the producer's confusion. 

We've just spent several days inpatient with my youngest for a surgery and here I sit typing as we want for a neurosurgical appointment. We spend a lot of time at the hospital. We've yet to meet one nurse or doctor who says that Obamacare is working. In fact, most lament that it has made their jobs harder. They've seen many families like mine being harmed by the law. But, back to my original intent of this post: Obamacare is more than the insurance exchanges. It regulates all health insurance and drives up the cost for everyone. I'll start with the letter we received from hubby's employer before open enrollment last year. Company name marked out for privacy. 

The company admits the law(Obamacare) will increase the fees (costs) of the medical plans in the top portion. In the lower portion, the company explains that their portion of healthcare costs will increase $7.4 million in 2014 over the $64 million they paid in 2013. How much clearer can it be!? Employer costs are going up...employee costs are going up.

If anyone would research the mito cocktail no longer being covered by most insurances now ( or see earlier blog posts) they'd see that most articles state companies are no longer covering the meds as a "cost cutting measure" because of the cost INCREASES related to the unAffirdable Care Act. 

From 2005-2010, our premiums, copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maxes were more affordable. Things were covered. The law passed and what had barely increased in 6 years began to skyrocket. Then, we lost coverage of life-saving meds. All because of Obamacare. The ACA screwed up insurance for the 85% of people who liked their plans. 

No one on the left can ever explain what caused the skyrocketing costs and loss of coverage if it is NOT the law. It seems like a no brainer to me. We've had the same insurance since 2005. This is our 10th year with the same insurance (2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010,2011,2012,2013,2014) and until the law passed, very little changed with coverage. From 2095-2010, our deductible increased $50 and our OOP Max increased $500. That's $10 per year and $100 per year respectively. Since the law passed, our deductible increased $1300 and our OOP Max $2500. We still don't know 2015 benefits yet ( should know Friday, I believe - our premiums will increase $1050 per year next year..I bet benefits will be worse. Sighs.) 

What in the law made these numbers increase!? I'm sorry...same employer, same insurance and the huge jump after 6 years is related to the law. Loss of coverage due to cost cutting measures is related to the law. 

People do realize that Obamacare is more than just its insurance exchanges, right!? They realize the laws mandates and regulations regulate EVERY insurance plan in the United States, right?

Nothing shocks me at this point. I keep rolling and hoping people will wake up before it is too late. I thought everyone realized that Obamacare regulated every insurance. I guess I need to start an action plan to educate everyone. 





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

$19,721.85

As of yesterday, we've reached $19,721.85 in OOP medical for 2014. Obama built that. 

Unfortuantely, we aren't the federal government, so we don't have $17 trillion in debt we can run up. As each day goes by, the reality that we can't continue this "lifestyle" forever becomes more apparent. Try going into a bank with 60k of debt as baggage, explain that your medical bills will never cease and ask for a loan. Denied. 

Getting a loan is not a solution to the problem. It only buys us more time before the eventual collapse. We have the possibility of getting a small loan to pay off medical debt, but what happens next? We continue to rack up more medical debt.Our debt doesn't get smaller. The medical problems don't go away. Costs are rising, the portion we have to pay increases and our family can't afford over 20k a year in OOP medical PLUS premiums.

The left continually says to give Obamacare a chance. I think they mean until it collapses and we get to one payer, in which case all my children's treatments are likely to be denied. Next year, our prescription copays will go toward our OOP Max, as mandated by the law. Our OOP Max will increase to the maximum allowed by law. Just as we had an 85/15 plan before the law that switched to an 80/20 once the law passed, increased costs for employers and mandated a minimum of 80/20 coverage. 

I'm in a mood. I head on another medical trip with my youngest today. He has testing at the hospital tomorrow, appointments and labs on Friday, surgery Monday (he'll be admitted) and then we have a neurosurgical appointment next Wednesday before heading home (he had a previous neurosurgery and recently had an abnormal MRIS that needs follow-up). These items alone are stressful enough. Add the extra paperwork and time required to gain coverage for things once covered and having lifesaving meds no longer covered. 

We cannot appeal for coverage of the lifesaving meds. THAT is really the epitome of Obamacare. We cannot appeal until our plan changes BACK. It will never change back until we REPEAL Obamacare and have a FREE MARKET solution (less government!). I used to think the epitome of Obamacare was the skyrocketing copay of the med my son takes to protect his kidneys from damage. Boy, was I mistaken. Lifesaving meds being denied..... Lifesaving treatments being denied. THAT'S the epitome of Obamacare. The left blames big corporations. What will they say when we get to a one payer system and these things are denied? Will they lamblast the government? Will they finally see that government is void of compassion, that government is about the dollar sign $$. 

Lastly, a reminder that healthcare is not the responsibility of government. It is not YOUR responsibility to pay for my children's healthcare and it is NOT the responsibility of any doctor to provide FREE healthcare. One person on Twitter said I was looking for a free lunch. I replied that I wasn't looking for a free lunch. I just want government to stop stealing my lunch money so I can buy my own lunch. We want to government to stop making it impossible to afford our own children's care. Is that too much to ask?

Pic of the day. This tube of medication cost us $50 before Obamacare. It now costs $100.




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Picture: The Obamacare Effect on Families with Sick Kids

Today, after filling a few more prescriptions, we reached $18,922.42 in incurred OOP medical in 2014. I say incurred, because we can't afford to pay it. We are still paying on the last several years of medical debt. 

Here's a meme you can share anywhere you'd like. Before Obamacare, the top envelope held more and we were able to pay more medical bills with the tax savings. The bottom envelope only contains what we could pay toward the other $16,422.42 in OOP medical from this year. Liberals will only say I'm lying. This photo is the epitome of what OBAMACARE does to families with sick kids. And let's not forget that our premiums are up over $2,000 per year on top of this.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Open-enrollment Notice

Just received notice of open enrollment in the mail today. No details on cost changes, but it appears we will continue to have insurance next year. Unless they send out more information before Oct 26, we will have to wait until then to see exactly how our plan will be changing. I'm fearful that all of our costs will go up yet again.  I hope employees get information before the election so that's they can vote wisely. 


My Interview on Fox & Friends

Thank you to Fox & Friends for having me on your show and allowing people to see how Obamacare harms people in the real world.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Taxes in Obamacare that Impact My Family

I know I've gone over this before, but felt like repeating it. 

Obamacare also hurts families directly by decreasing the amount of medical expenses people can deduct from their taxes. The president and his cohorts promised no new taxes or burdens on the middle class, right!?

They lied. The #ACA increased the deduction limit from 7.5% of your AGI to 10% of your AGI. Meaning, the first 10% of your AGI in accrued medical expenses CANNOT be deducted. This is another tax increase on our family. 

For example, prior to the law being passed, someone earning $100,000 (AGI) a year couldn't deduct the first $7,500 in medical expenses. Now, that same person cannot deduct the first $10,000 in medical expenses. 

Consider yourself lucky if you don't have enough yearly medical expenses to itemize medical on your taxes. This might not be a tax you notice- but I assure you, families like mine notice.

Obamacare decreased FSA and HSA limits. Since my family has used an FSA for well over a decade, I'll discuss that. Prior to the law passing, we were allowed to put $5,000 into a FSA account BEFORE taxes. Managed by a company, these funds could only be used to pay for eligible, tax-deductible medical expenses. We estimate that the tax savings allowed us to pay hundreds of dollars in medical expenses. Obamacare dropped the FSA limit to $2,500, which is another tax increase on our family. 

If you don't have a chronic illness or chronically ill loved ones, this tax increase may not affect your family directly. This is why I repeatedly state that Obamacare is a tax on the sick. 

The medical device tax- I look around my house and see hundreds of items now subject to the medical device tax. Medication pumps, infusion supplies and catheters to name a few. Any item we receive from a home health company is now taxed. We deal with 3 such companies. This tax increases the cost of these items and the increased cost is passed onto insurance companies, which, in turn, is then passed on to us via increased premiums, deductibles, out of pocket maxes, and co-pays. 

There are other taxes included in the law- the tanning salon tax, etc, but I will stick with the ones I know have directly impacted my family. 

#fullREPEAL
 

Friday, October 3, 2014

My OpEd on Obamacare Appeared in The Washington Times

Last Friday, I found out the Washington Times was going to run my OpEd. I hadn't shown my husband what I'd submitted because I never thought it would REALLY go anywhere. He read it and said,"We're going to be audited by the IRS now." He also said it was well written. ~laughter~ I'm thankful that The Washington Times gave me the opportunity to share a brief summation of our family's Obamacare nightmare. 

I am an American. I am not afraid of my government. Fear of an IRS audit will never keep me from speaking out and standing up.  We've got nothing to hide. I will stand up against the tyranny that is Obamacare and ANY tyranny which threatens my liberty and the freedom of future generations of Americans. I am still an American soldier. Once a soldier, always a soldier. Maybe a little different than when I was younger, but I'm a soldier who still takes her oath seriously. Duty. Honor. Country. Let's roll. It's going to be a good day. I'm sure the left will attack. 

You can read my OpEd at this link: http://bit.ly/1mXmWyn
Blast from the past- here I am in August of 1991 being sworn in as a 2LT:


I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."

Text of the OpEd:

 - - Thursday, October 2, 2014

As the mother of two chronically ill children, I have long faced high health care costs. My sons suffer from a rare bone-marrow failure syndrome called Shwachman-Diamond syndrome and have secondary mitochondrial disease that requires treatment with a broad range of expensive medications. We averaged $10,000 to $12,000 a year in billed out-of-pocket medical expenses before Obamacare became law. In 2013, we incurred just over $27,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses. President Obama’s signature piece of legislation has more than doubled our yearly medical costs.

Having read the then-proposed Affordable Care Act in 2010, I was skeptical of the legislation from the start. I knew that a vast expansion of government involvement in health care would create unintended consequences, and I publicly warned my own senator, Kay R. Hagan, North Carolina Democrat, about the impact the legislation would have on my children. Though she denied the truth of my claims at the time, almost everything I imagined would happen because of the law has come to fruition.

 Prior to 2011, our insurance provider covered all of my sons’ treatments, surgeries and hospitalizations without one instance of a denied claim. I always considered our family very fortunate for the medical availability that we had before the law made its impact. As the founder of a nonprofit organization designed to support research and education for Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, I saw over the years the lack of medical access opportunity for families contacting me from Canada and England. They frequently reported difficulty obtaining necessary medications and even receiving routine diagnostic testing owing to denied coverage. One injectable medication my youngest son gets to boost his white blood cell count before surgery was denied to families in these countries because the medication was considered too expensive. Since Obamacare passed, what I saw happen to those other families is now happening to my own family right here in the United States.

With the imposition of new taxes and mandates as a result of Obamacare, employers and insurance providers have been forced to look for ways to cut costs. My husband’s employer is facing an increase of $7.4 million in health care expenses for 2014, alone owing to the mandates. We first noticed changes for our family in 2011. For us, it started with higher premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and co-pays. The co-pay for a medication that protects my youngest son’s kidneys from damage had been $131 for a three-month supply for five to six years before the law passed. In 2011, the medication suddenly more than doubled. We watched in horror as it skyrocketed to $532 by the middle of 2013, while at the same time trying to get a medical-necessity exception. Obamacare not only made everything less affordable, it created more work for families and providers. We have witnessed a corresponding decrease in quality of care because of the extra administrative demands placed on physicians and their staff.

During the past month, some of our sons’ most important medications have been discontinued from coverage altogether. Their specialist wrote a letter to the insurance company to inform them that if my sons are not able to continue their medications owing to the lack of coverage, it could lead to neurodegenerative symptoms, which can result in death. Despite the clearly communicated consequences, we were informed that the insurance company could not file an appeal on our behalf until our plan changes (again). The president and Mrs. Hagan repeatedly told us, “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” We now know that is not true.

My husband has a good job, but it doesn’t pay nearly enough to cover all of the increased expenses. Yet he earns too much for us to qualify for relief programs from pharmaceutical companies because government regulations dictate who the private companies are allowed to help. His employer is burdened with extra financial costs because of the law. Employees are burdened and, as I’ve stated previously, physicians and their staff are burdened by the cumbersome mandates, as well.

Today we find ourselves deeply in debt and drowning in the paperwork of what has become a full-time fight to restore coverage of essential, lifesaving treatments for our sons. This year alone, we have been billed tens of thousands of dollars in health care costs out-of-pocket. Our credit cards are maxed out and our insurer, bound by rigid government rules, is unable to help us. Obamacare has been far from the salvation that was promised. For us, it has been nothing less than a nightmare of skyrocketing health care costs that threaten to bankrupt our family and keep our sons from receiving the lifesaving treatments they need.

Our situation has now become precisely what Obamacare supporters claimed they were trying to address. The policy debates in Washington have consequences in the real world — consequences that include losing access to lifesaving medications and treatments. These changes brought about by the law could have deadly consequences for my sons. Furthermore, if our family is dumped into the Obamacare exchanges, as we fear may happen, our children will lose access to the doctors who specialize in Shwachman-Diamond syndrome and mitochondrial disease. Mrs. Hagan’s deciding vote on Obamacare has meant disaster for our family and for families like ours. One-size-fits-all government programs, like Obamacare, will always have unintended consequences that will bring devastation to many American families.

Pattie Curran is a North Carolina mother of two children born with a rare bone-marrow dysfunction and founder of a nonprofit research and education organization related to the condition.



Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/2/curran-one-familys-obamacare-nightmare/#ixzz3ID1GGtjZ 
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Obamacare Will Cancel 50,000 Plans before November

The Daily Caller reported Tuesday that Obamacare would cancel another 50,000 plans before November.  Read the article here: http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/30/obamacare-will-cancel-50000-more-plans-before-november/ 

We told the left this would happen. We know it's their plan to get to one payer system. 

This news hits at a time my husband and I are anxiously awaiting news of open enrollment. We are praying that his employer decides to keep current healthcare benefits. Looking over the exchange plans offered here in NC again yesterday, we realized how utterly screwed we will be if dumped to the exchanges. The plans are all more expensive, cover less and create more nightmares than we have with our current plan and its changes from Obamacare. 

I was posting about these plans yesterday and several people joined in saying, "Don't get this one, or that one, we have it and we can't find a doctor who takes it!" The tier plans are simply confusing. One NC friend says the plan is making healthcare for her family a nightmare. 

I searched for our boys' specialists by name again and they didn't pop up, even though it looks like they've added more doctors and clinics to their coverage. Wouldn't it be nice if I was sitting here typing this without any angst over losing coverage? Wouldn't it be nice if Obama and the Demicrats hadn't lied when they said, "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan," and "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."!!??

In 13 days, I head to Cincy with my youngest.  We will be there over a week for surgery, testing and a few appointments. We are thankful to be getting it in this year, because we honestly don't know if we will have a plan that covers any of it next year. It's an awful place to be if you have kids with chronic conditions. Is this really happening in America? 

We never had the extra worry of life-saving Meds not being covered or worried about losing coverage. This is the new normal. Before Obamacare, we could focus on taking care of our children and their medical needs. Obama has done a bang up job in helping families like mine, hasn't he? 

Obama Moves to Control When Doctors Can Prescribe Antibiotics for Patients

Obama is acting more like a dictator or king than the president of our constituional republic. Where does it say in the US Constitution that the president has the power to tell doctors how to do their job?


This article appeared yesterday in a local conservative blog. Via executive order, Obama wants to dictate when physicians can prescribe antibiotics.  This same HHS run by people you and I did not elect will be making policies that effect our healthcare. Remember Obama and Kay Hagan promised that nothing they did would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship. Um. Right. Obamacare does precisely that. Doctors now have to be more concerned with government regulations and potential fines than they do with the patient sitting in front of them. 

My boys are immune compromised, they fight a lot of bacterial infections. I don't want government protocol telling us when they can or cannot have antibiotics. I want their physician to examine them and determine the need. The article I have cut and pasted can be found at this link:

http://www.triadconservative.com/2014/10/obama-moves-to-control-when-doctors-prescribe-antibiotics-for-patients.html


Obama Moves to Control When Doctors Can Prescribe Antibiotics for Patients

Two weeks ago, a momentous step was taken by the Obama White House to limit and control when doctors prescribe antibiotics for patients. 

On September 18, 2014, the president issued an executive order to deal with the problem of bacteria that are becoming resistant to antibiotics.  He is ordering the development of "antibiotic stewardship programs" to be enforced by federal agencies.  This move has been largely unreported and unheralded thus far.

Here is the relevant language from the executive order:

Sec. 5Improved Antibiotic Stewardship. (a) By the end of calendar year 2016, HHS shall review existing regulations and propose new regulations or other actions, as appropriate, that require hospitals and other inpatient healthcare delivery facilities to implement robust antibiotic stewardship programs that adhere to best practices, such as those identified by the CDC. HHS shall also take steps to encourage other healthcare facilities, such as ambulatory surgery centers and dialysis facilities, to adopt antibiotic stewardship programs.

(b) Task Force agencies shall, as appropriate, define, promulgate, and implement stewardship programs in other healthcare settings, including office-based practices, outpatient settings, emergency departments, and institutional and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, pharmacies, and correctional facilities.

How does this affect you and your family?

When you go to see the doctor, he or she will have to prescribe only according to protocols that are approved, directly or indirectly, by the federal government.  The physician will no longer be able to prescribe according to his or her own professional judgment.  Instead, he will have to follow the government-sanctioned protocol. 

Imagine that you bring your child to the physician with an ear infection.  And imagine being told by the physician that you have to wait, say, three weeks before being prescribed an antibiotic.  If he does not comply with "the program", he might be subject to disciplinary action, or risk being excluded from insurance plans.  He is therefore intimidated into compliance.

Under this scheme, the doctor's primary responsibility would no longer be to the patient's best interests medically.  Instead, his allegiance must be to the federal government and its requirements-- if he is going to remain viable.

My hunch is that the feds will likely use the electronic medical records they pushed-- and the Accountable Care Organizations established under the Affordable Care Act-- to monitor physicians and enforce their requirements regarding use of antibiotics.

I think this issue is so important that we need to have a national discussion about this policy during the current congressional election season.  I think every U.S Senate and U.S House candidate running against Democratic candidates needs to be talking about this issue, and dramatizing what it means for all of us-- as individuals, as parents and as families.

Under this new framework, when you go to see physicians for conditions as straightforward as a urinary tract infection or a case of bronchitis, you will have to wonder whether they are primarily dedicated to providing you with the best medical treatment they can offer.

- See more at: http://www.triadconservative.com/2014/10/obama-moves-to-control-when-doctors-prescribe-antibiotics-for-patients.html#sthash.dyLFbyul.dpuf

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

More Pre-Auths Required

More pre-auths for prescriptions required. Don't know what a pre-auth is!? That's what we used to have ONE of before Obamacare....for IGG, then added THAT dreaded med.. paperwork, phones calls, hours on phone (you, physicians and nurses)- many people will just give up.... It took us 3 months this last time to get the pre-auth (medical necessity exception is what I use when talking to people because those not well versed in all this medical insurance lingo understand that at face value). The pre-auth lasts for a year, so you get to repeat this for every necessary med every year. joy. 

Obamacare is a nightmare. If you want insurance that costs more than your current plan, but not as much as the other exchange plans, you have a nightmare on your hands called EXTREME paperwork, phone calls, and eternal hold time. It's a full time job. 


BCBS of NC Plans

I'm researching again. It seems they have expanded their network of doctors..... But who can afford these plans? $1030 a month in premiums gets you an $11,000 deductible and a large network. Who could afford to see a doctor after those premiums and having such a high deductible. But, for $1100 you can downgrade to a limited network of doctors and decrease your deductible. Like your doctor? Oops... He's not on the limited network.  Then there's the $1776 a month plan (I'm calling it the Freedom Plan). - don't feed the kids, put gas in your car or buy cleaning products and you, too, can have a large network, low deductible plan.  These are 2014 plans. Trying to find 2015 plans.