воскресенье, 26 декабря 2010 г.

BCBS: Going Generic Makes Health Insurance Affordable

BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma has released a statement reminding its clients that generic drugs can contribute to lowering the overall costs of health insurance, especially for patients.
Generic drugs are prescription drugs that can treat everything brand name drugs can. They have the same active drugs, at the same strength and in the same doses. What is the difference then? The patent name only. When those patents expire, generic drugs can be developed. On average, there is a 50 dollar price difference, a considerable savings for consumers.
The drug companies spend 27 percent more on advertising and marketing brand name drugs and only about 11 percent into research and development. So, the company needs to recover its costs and make a profit on the brand name. That is passed on to consumers and the companies that help cover prescription costs - your health insurance.
There are two different types of generic medication: generic equivalent and generic alternative. The generic equivalent is just that: a matching generic drug with the same ingredients and FDA approval. A generic alternative may be different ingredients but can be used to treat the problems the brand name drug does too. It’s important to discuss your options with your doctor.
You might also reduce your overall prescription drug costs by asking your doctor or pharmacist if there are over-the-counter (OTC) versions for your prescription drugs. Many commonly used drugs are now available OTC.
As reported yesterday, the federal government has outlined its new requirements for health insurance companies which will offer free preventive medicine to patients, and covering high-risk patients. These moves will further lower the cost of health insurance to the consumer.
Also, for more cost saving tips on order prescription drugs, please visit the BCBS Oklahoma website

среда, 22 декабря 2010 г.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2010: Need for improved awareness

The first full week of October was designated by the U.S. Congress as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) in 1990. MIAW is recognition of the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) 's efforts to raise mental illness awareness.
The general theme for this year’s MIAW is “Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives.” The theme was chosen to take advantage of the overlap of 2010 MIAW with election season.
The need for improved awareness of mental health is evident in the news. Our troops have increased issues with suicide and PTSD. Cyber-bullying and suicide. Increased depression with poor economy.
MIAW would like to encourage the discussion of mental health issues with your political leaders and candidates. They provide information about non-partisan election activity is at www.nami.org/election.
MIAW will include a National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010.
Beginning Oct. 1, PBS television stations in some communities will begin airing the documentary Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia, which was screened at the 2010 NAMI national convention. The film also can be used a tool for MIAW or later public education efforts. Please check its website for more information.

вторник, 14 декабря 2010 г.

Group Says NC Eager For Health Insurance Reform

From small businesses to seniors, from the uninsured to families struggling to find affordable health insurance they do have, the health care reform bill being considered in the House of Representatives will make a real, positive impact on the everyday lives of thousands of North Carolina state residents. Representing workers across the country, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is highlighting some important numbers compiled by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee that truly demonstrate the need for reform now. While opponents of the legislation have fought hard to cover up the truth about its benefits, the numbers say it all.
As the Affordable Health Care for America Act (HR 3962) comes to the floor for a vote, it’s clear that North Carolina’s delegation, particularly Reps. Bob Etheridge, Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell, will have a chance to side with state residents over the insurance companies.
Real Reform: Strengthening North Carolina Residents’ Financial Security
Too many North Carolina families have faced financial ruin because of skyrocketing health care costs, and even more are just one medical emergency away from disaster. In 2008, thousands of North Carolina residents filed for health care-related bankruptcies, including:
· 1,100 families in the 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Etheridge)
· 700 families in the 7th Congressional District (Rep. McIntyre)
· 700 families in the 8th Congressional District (Rep. Kissell)
Just among these areas of the state, that’s 2,500 families who can’t choose between paying for prescription drugs and buying food anymore, because they can’t afford either.
A ‘Yes’ vote on reform would mean a hard cap on annual out-of-pocket costs at $10,000 per year, effectively preventing citizens from going bankrupt because of out-of-control health care costs. North Carolina families on the verge of bankruptcy can’t wait for reform any longer.
Real Reform: Protecting North Carolina Seniors by Strengthening Medicare
Too many North Carolina seniors have fallen through the cracks of a broken system that prioritizes insurance companies’ profits over their seniors’ health care needs. Thanks to the so-called “donut hole,” seniors every year are forced to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs, and many of them can’t afford it. The number of seniors affected by congressional district:
· 6,600 seniors in Rep. Etheridge’s district
· 8,600 seniors in Rep. McIntyre’s district
· 6,800 seniors in Rep. Kissell’s district
A ‘Yes’ vote on reform would mean cutting brand-name prescription drug costs in the Part D “donut hole” by 50% for these seniors, and would ultimately eliminate the “donut hole” altogether.
Real Reform: Covering those without health insurance
Hundreds of thousands of North Carolina residents are currently living without any health insurance at all. The Affordable Health Care for America Act will mean affordable and accessible coverage for:
· 96,000 uninsured individuals in the 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Etheridge)
· 105,000 uninsured individuals in the 7th Congressional District (Rep. McIntyre)
· 85,000 uninsured individuals in the 8th Congressional District (Rep. Kissell)
Just among these areas, that’s 286,000 more North Carolina residents who won’t have to worry any more about their ability to afford care for themselves, a sick child, or an ailing spouse.
Real Reform: Standing Up for Main Street Small Businesses
Small business owners have seen firsthand how a failing health care system can cripple their businesses at a time when we’re relying on them to help our economy recover. A ‘Yes’ vote on the Affordable Health Care for America Act would mean tax credits of up to 50% of the health insurance costs for North Carolina small businesses with under 25 employees and average wages under $40,000.
This tax credit means support for thousands of small businesses around the state, including:
· 13,000 small businesses in Rep. Etheridge’s district
· 14,600 small businesses in Rep. McIntyre’s district
· 13,600 small businesses in Rep. Kissell’s district
Real Reform: Ending discrimination against pre-existing conditions
Right now insurance companies routinely deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. A ‘Yes’ vote on reform puts an end to this discriminatory practice for:
· 16,900 individuals in the 2nd Congressional District
· 17,400 individuals in the 7th Congressional District
· 14,900 individuals in the 8th Congressional District
Scare tactics from the big health insurance companies and their allies in Congress won’t change the fact that millions of families will benefit from reform, or that the plan is paid for in full and will reduce the national deficit. North Carolina residents know that it’s time to fix the system, and want Reps. Etheridge, McIntyre and Kissell to stand up and vote ‘Yes’ on the Affordable Health Care for America Act.

вторник, 7 декабря 2010 г.

Alaska Lawmakers Consider Universal Health Care Proposal

Alaska lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would create a universal health care system in the state providing affordable health insurance coverage to the residents of Alaska., the AP/Anchorage Daily News reports. The bill was presented at a late summer Senate Health, Education and Social Services Committee hearing in an attempt to get a "jump start on the 90-day session" next year, French said.
Under the proposal, all residents would be required to obtain health coverage and the state would subsidize plans for low-income residents. The bill would create a health care board that would determine which medical services would be covered under the subsidized program and that would certify private coverage plans that meet state requirements.
The board also would oversee the Alaska Health Fund, which would include contributions from state and federal sources, employers and employees. The contributions would fund a sliding-scale voucher system. Residents would be able to use the vouchers to obtain coverage from the Alaska Health Care Clearinghouse, a "marketplace" of various certified policies, according to the Daily News.
However, Michael Tanner -- director of Health and Welfare Studies at the Cato Institute, who testified at the hearing -- said the best thing state governments could do would be to reduce the costs of health care by allowing individuals to purchase plans from other states and small businesses to participate in insurance pools. Tanner and another health policy expert who testified at the hearing said solutions to health care problems in the U.S. would have to come from the federal government (AP/Anchorage Daily News, 9/12).