Virginia Consumer Healthcare Alliance

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From the Alliance

I’ve been dealing with healthcare since the nineties, so i can tell you a thing or two…

I started working at a nursing home in 1991 as an activity director. Being a department manager and full time employee, part of my package was paid healthcare, the ability to add & pay for spouse/children – and the policy was awesome! a minimal deductible, and then pretty much 80% of the bill. As the years passed, the insurance went up. my corporation only paid a portion of my premiums…dependent costs rose as well, as did the deductibles…even the percentage of coverage dropped to 70%. I was diagnosed with MS in 1996. It is sad that you have to pay such attention to bills and payments made by insurance…it almost felt like each time i got sick and had to go to the hospital, as i would finally begin to get back to normal and back to work, the bills would start to come in…and the confusing way hospitals billed, and every doctor and radiologist and technician that read your test results billed you; the insurance companies would deny claims and i’d have to call and track down payments and hold on to bills and statements EOB’s – sick people should not have to deal with such confusion… Also during this time i ended up taking a desk job in the front office, as a means to continue to work, but at a less stressful position. Part of my job entailed dealing with the insurance companies on payments for our customers…In the early nineties Medicare part B was paying for our residents’ PT, OT and SE therapies when they qualified for these services (as well as skilled nursing svs) But as the years passed, by the late nineties, Medicare had placed a “cap” on how much therapy an individual could recieve within a calendar year (regardless of how much they needed OR increase in function) They also began requiring year after year more documentation proving that the individual needed the services AND was improving…once they plateaued – services would no longer be reimbursed by Medicare. On my own medical front, costs just rose higher and higher each year. i couldn’t afford my MS medication because by that time if a drug was over a certain amount, the consumer would have to pay 30%, then 40% of the cost of the drug…that equaled out to 3 – 5 hundred dollars a month that i didn’t have. When i ended up retiring and getting on disability (SS) I had Medicare. Part D was just beginning. With the “doughnut gap”..i fell in it in 3 months – trying to get back on the MS medication. i quit it. I also ended up working with my physician for 3 years to get my meds to the point where i could pay for them and not fall into “the doughnut hole”and have to pay 100% of my drug costs (until reaching catastrophic yatta yatta yatta). Since the Affordable Care Act, i have noticed improvements each year on how much part D plans were charging for generics – and last year, generics were free!!! of course, insurance companies increased premiums a bit and raised the price of deductibles somewhat, but i KNOW the ACA had something to do with what reductions i did receive and the slow cost increases. my husband pays for my sons’ medical insurance (he’s 21). if it weren’t for the ACA, he would have no paycheck if he had to pay for it himself through his own employment. if it weren’t for ACA, me with a pre-existing condition, could be denied Medicare co-insurance. “Obamacare” did not increase the costs of being ill, that’s been going on for a Lonnng. Time. too many people living too long with too many heroic medical advances. and insurance companies, and drug companies, medical equipment companies, healthcare corps, are All in it to make money. We Knew when the ACA was signed into law in 2010 that there were problems…that as 2015, ’16 and ’17 came up, that other parts of the program were to kick in…but nobody worked on it after the Republicans took over control of the House and Senate…all they would do was bring up motions to repeal it…Never to amend, to allocate how moneys were to be dispersed, etc. Why couldn’t our lawmakers start fixing this 6 years ago?!? it was not in the interest of Americans, i can assure you. We can not afford to repeal the ACA…and yet that is what the Trump Admin seems insistent upon doing. I am very concerned. This is one of the main reasons I have chosen to be more of an active citizen this year. And that’s why i’m here, giving you this testimonial.