Scores of the most passionate and vocal champions of the arthritis community recently descended on the nation’s capital to hone their advocacy skills and share their personal stories with each other and with their members of Congress. Attended by nearly 130 participants from 32 states, the Arthritis Foundation’s new Platinum Ambassadors Assembly was held March 12-13.
Platinum Ambassadors are top grassroots volunteers who complete six annual advocacy assignments and raise at least $1,000 to support the Foundation’s mission to conquer and cure arthritis. Forty-eight of our fifty-one Platinum Ambassadors participated in the first-of-its-kind event, along with 25 Junior Ambassadors, young people ages 13 to 17 who speak out for the estimated 300,000 kids in the U.S. who battle arthritis. Also attending were 30 future advocacy leaders, highly-engaged Arthritis Foundation volunteers who have committed to achieving Platinum Ambassador status in 2018.
Continue reading 2018 Arthritis Platinum Ambassador Assembly Makes a Big Impact
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!
Continue reading Show Us How YOU #AdvocateforArthritis
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.
Continue reading Platinum Ambassador Spotlight: Amy Barron, OHIO
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.
Continue reading Platinum Ambassador Spotlight—Rebecca Gillett, Colorado
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.
Continue reading #AsktheAF: Open Enrollment Edition!
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.
Continue reading Arthritis Foundation Plays a Role in CMS Biosimilars Policy Reversal
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.
Continue reading Junior Ambassador Spotlight – Ethan Berkovitz, Ohio
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.
Continue reading Ambassador Spotlight: Kerry Wong, New York
Congratulations D.C. Advocates! Because of your efforts, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed the Specialty Drug Copayment Limitation Act. In the law, “specialty drug” means a prescription drug that is prescribed for a person with a physical, behavioral, or developmental condition that may have no known cure, is progressive, or can be debilitating or fatal if left untreated or undertreated, such as multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C and rheumatoid arthritis.
Continue reading The Nation’s Capital Caps the Out-of-Pocket Costs of Medications