In 2016, I was fortunate to attend the Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C. alongside some seasoned advocacy veterans from Denver. I had never met with my legislators or shared my story before, so it was a new experience. It was easy to “catch the bug” for advocacy being surrounded by so many other fellow arthritis patient advocates who want to make a difference for all of us. Raising awareness and fundraising for arthritis has been an integral part of my life for the past several years, but advocacy has become an even greater passion. This year, I achieved the Platinum Ambassador Award and will attend the Arthritis Foundation’s Platinum Ambassador Assembly this March 12-13, 2018.
During this season of open enrollment, the Arthritis Foundation is here to help you make an informed decision in selecting the best health coverage for your unique needs. Open enrollment is the time of year when individuals elect health care benefits through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, or the federal and state health exchanges created through the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment periods vary based on the type of insurance you have, but generally occur in the late fall.
As part of our commitment, the Arthritis Foundation hosted a webinar last month to provide a general overview of open enrollment and the tools and resources you need to secure the best health care for you and your family. In addition, we hosted our very first Twitter chat on November 9th devoted to this year’s open enrollment. Thousands of you engaged with us on Twitter to #AsktheAF and we rounded up your questions in one location.
Read on to learn more about open enrollment and the questions you asked during the Twitter chat. If you have further questions, the Arthritis Foundation also has licensed clinical social workers available to talk with you about these options or any other questions you may have about your care. Call toll-free at 1-844-571-HELP.
From Lori Fagan
I have been living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for over a decade. As a full-time working mom and wife living with a chronic condition, the last thing I need is the added strain of fighting with my health insurer.
Unfortunately, because of a common health insurance practice known as “step therapy,” the last 10 years have been a constant and stressful battle.
On Thursday, November 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced they would reverse a policy determining how providers are paid for administering biosimilar drugs under Medicare Part B. A biosimilar is a type of medication that is “similar” to a biologic reference product, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); biosimilars offer patients the promise of more affordable treatment options available on the market to address their disease.
Over the past twenty-four months, the Arthritis Foundation and other patient organizations have expressed our collective concerns with CMS’s biosimilars reimbursement policy and encouraged them to reverse it. This policy reversal is a crucial access to care victory for the arthritis community since there are two biosimilars on the market to treat arthritis. The regulatory change will foster competition and lower the cost of expensive biologic treatments, while encouraging innovation of new therapies – ultimately creating a robust marketplace of biosimilars. Read on to learn more about this important win for patients.
On behalf of the more than 3.6 million New Yorkers (including 18,400 children) with doctor-diagnosed arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation thanks Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing biosimilar legislation into law. The new law, A.7509/S.4788, enhances patient access to new and innovative medications while ensuring that pharmacists are communicating critical and up-to-date medical information about patients to physicians.
On Thursday, October 12, 2017, the Administration took two actions on health care that could affect coverage for people who have health insurance through the exchanges.
President Trump signed an executive order that opens the door for the expansion of association health plans, which aren’t subject to the same level of patient protections as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Second, the Administration announced the discontinuation of cost-sharing reduction payments, which are payments to health insurers that help reduce out-of-pocket costs for low income people who purchase insurance on the health exchanges.
Read on to learn more about the Administration’s actions and their potential impacts on the arthritis community.
From Ethan Berkovitz
My name is Ethan Berkovitz, I am a 16-year-old high school sophomore and my favorite sports are soccer and futsal, a type of indoor soccer with five players per team. I play on the U.S. Youth Futsal 16-and-under National Team, and this summer I got to compete and represent our country in Costa Rica. I have been playing soccer since I was 3 years old – and I have juvenile arthritis.
I didn’t always have juvenile arthritis. It all started when I was 8 years old, when I started having pain in my legs, hands and wrists. I thought I was having growing pains, but it got worse and worse in just a few short months. I couldn’t even walk down the stairs, or to the bus stop, so my dad had to carry me. Sometimes, I didn’t make it to school because I didn’t feel very well and I would get fevers, so I felt really sick. I loved playing all kinds of sports back then with my friends and I was on lots of different teams. I also would ride my bike, skateboard, rollerblade and much more.
The Senate is expected to open debate today on two bills that repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Tell your senator to vote no and work to write a health bill that serves patients!
Not getting health insurance because you have a pre-existing condition.
Thousands upon thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs every year with no end in sight.
Fear of reaching your maximum lifetime benefit because you take expensive drugs or had multiple surgeries and hospital stays.
This is what life looked like for many people before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed into law in 2010. While the ACA is far from perfect, it offers critical protections like caps on annual out-of-pocket spending, a ban on lifetime coverage limits, a prohibition on pre-existing conditions exclusions and minimum essential health benefits like prescription drugs and hospitalizations.
From Kerry Wong
Nearly 10 years ago, I began feeling a variety of symptoms that didn’t seem to make much sense. I was exhausted and sore without doing anything strenuous, frequently weak, dizzy and nauseous. I couldn’t sleep.