California Patient Advocates Get Answers to Health Reform
The IMF held its first "Health Reform and You" in-person Patient Education Forum on the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on cancer patients. Held in conjunction with the IMF's San Francisco Patient and Family Seminar, over 50 patients and caregivers learned the ins and outs of the new California insurance marketplace, “Covered California” and the current and future changes to Medicare.
Dr. Betsy Thompson, Chief Medical Officer from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in San Francisco started the morning looking at how the ACA will strengthen Medicare and increase affordability in the long term. “Over the next ten years, the average person with Medicare will save $3,500, while those with the highest prescription drug costs will save an average of $12,300,” says Dr. Thompson.
Next, Alison Ramey, State Legislative Director for the California American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, took a closer look at “Covered California”, for which open enrollment begins on October 1, 2013. Covered California is a new program designed to help uninsured and underinsured, legal residents of California, compare prices and purchase health insurance coverage – many for the first time. The program will include a range of health insurance plans, available at different prices that will enable consumers to shop online, over the phone or in person to find the plan that best meets their needs.
Patients felt the speakers did a “great job of making a complex topic comprehensible.” We are excited to host two more in person events in New Jersey and Chicago in the coming months. We will also be hosting a series of webinars to keep demystifying the ACA.
To learn more about changes to Medicare, please go to: www.healthcare.gov. For details about Covered California, please see http://coveredca.com/ and http://coveredca.com/frequently_asked_questions.html.