Mark your calendars! This year’s Live Yes! Advocacy Summit will take place on March 11-12, 2019 in Washington, D.C. and it won’t be a success without your voices from across the country. Join us in the nation’s capitol and share your story with policymakers to break down barriers to care for people with arthritis.
On Wednesday, February 28th, New Mexico joined 17 other states across the country in passing legislation to curb step therapy. Senate Bill 11, which was signed into law by New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, reforms the process that forces patients to try drugs that insurance companies choose, making patients “fail first” before the patient gets to use the medicine that their doctor originally prescribed.
Step therapy is an insurance practice that requires patients to use a lower-cost drug before permitting more expensive drugs – regardless of what your doctor prescribed. This may occur even if you are already taking that pricier medication and doing well on it. Senate Bill 11 placed limits on this practice and helps get the right medicine to patients faster.
Platinum Ambassador Assembly Social Campaign
Did you know that the first ever Platinum Ambassador Assembly is taking place in Washington, DC this March 12-13? There, our most highly engaged grassroots Ambassadors will gather together to be the voice for arthritis on Capitol Hill.
We’re calling on you to help amplify the voice of our Platinum Ambassador Assembly by participating virtually in our #AdvocateforArthritis social media campaign on Tuesday, March 13. On that day Platinum Ambassador Assembly participants will be on Capitol Hill to meet their elected officials and their staff in person to discuss legislative priorities like reforming burdensome step therapy practices, addressing the pediatric rheumatologist shortage, and even securing funding for research for a cure!
ADVOCACY COMMITTEE REACHES GOAL!
By Amy Barron, Platinum Ambassador, OH Advocacy Committee
I am privileged to serve as a member of the Arthritis Foundation’s Ohio State Advocacy Committee. Advocacy committees like mine help to chart the course of local and state-wide advocacy action for our arthritis community. Many of our committee members serve as Arthritis Foundation Advocates and Ambassadors, at both the state and federal level.
On Thursday, February 1, the Arthritis Foundation and American College of Rheumatology (ACR) – along with seven other health advocacy organizations – will host a briefing on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to increase research funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to combat the nation’s leading cause of disability.
New data reveals the stunning impact of arthritis on the U.S. economy. Between 2003 and 2013, the annual cost of arthritis more than doubled and now totals $304 billion in direct and indirect costs, according to a CDC-sponsored study published in the September 2017 edition of Arthritis Care & Research. These figures include both higher medical costs to patients, as well as lost earnings from individuals who are unable to work due to their condition.
On Monday, Danielle Highley of Deer Lodge, Montana, and her mother flew over 2,200 miles to Washington, D.C. with Montana Sen. Steve Daines to attend today’s State of the Union address. Sen. Daines invited Dani, age 9, and her mother, Glory, to join him after he told Dani’s story on the floor of the U.S. Senate earlier this month, urging his colleagues to support long-term CHIP funding.
CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, was created over two decades ago with overwhelming bipartisan support. The program insures vital health care for nearly 9 million children across the country. In September 2017, Congress allowed funding to expire, and the program was in danger of ending coverage for those children. Last week, Congress extended funding to CHIP for six years.
On Wednesday, December 20, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). There were several health-related changes included in the legislation, such as a repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, and changes to the medical expenditure tax deduction. Below we explain the key health provisions that made it into the final law, how it may impact you, and what’s next.
Let’s start with the individual mandate.
Continue reading Answering Your Questions About the New Tax Reform Legislation
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.