Program Notes: More Help with Healthcare
MSAA Continues to Report on the Affordable Care Act and How it Affects You
Throughout 2013, MSAA has been working to research, inform, and educate our clients about the sweeping changes in healthcare reform under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and its significant impact on the multiple sclerosis (MS) community. Along with a detailed article in the Winter/Spring 2013 issue of The Motivator, MSAA created a comprehensive section on our website at http://healthinsuranceguide.mymsaa.org/.
Located under the About MS tab, the ACA “Changes in Insurance” section provides an overview of the new provisions covered by
the law, a glossary of insurance terms, and specific information on Medicare, Medicaid, and the process of purchasing medical insurance through the new Marketplaces.
Because of the complex and expensive nature of evaluating, managing, and treating MS, MSAA also dug deep into the ACA law to shed some light on critical issues that directly affect our constituents. These include access to medication through certain tier classifications and step-therapy pitfalls, as well as implications for MRI exams and common durable medical equipment.
As you may know, open enrollment for insurance coverage through the new Marketplaces begins on October 1, 2013, with policies taking effect in January 2014. At the time of this article, the news reported an unfortunate setback in one of the key provisions of the law.
As written into law, the limit on out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles and co-payments, is capped at $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. This provision, originally scheduled to go into effect in January 2014, has been pushed back one year. This is to allow insurers and employers more time to comply with the regulation and the resulting need to upgrade their computer systems.
If a drug plan does not currently have a limit on out-of-pocket costs, it will not be required to impose one for 2014. This setback may significantly impact the MS community due to the often high costs of disease-modifying and symptom-management medications.
Recognizing the need to keep you updated on the continuously evolving aspects of this new law, such as the change to the out-of-pocket provision, MSAA has secured an unrestricted educational grant from Biogen Idec, with proposals to other corporations pending, to produce a series of ACA webinars and additional resources on this important topic.
Come Chat with Us!
MSAA’s Client Services department features master’s level social work and counseling professionals, skilled in helping individuals understand the ever-changing world of MS. In an effort to expand Client Services’ availability and outreach, MSAA has created a dedicated email address, MSquestions@mymsaa.org, where visitors
to our website may send questions directly to the Client Services department and receive timely responses.
More recently, MSAA added a Chat feature to the website. Launched in August, the MSAA Chat feature offers website visitors the opportunity to engage in an interactive one-on-one conversation with a Client Services representative during posted business hours. The MS Chat feature is found on the bottom right-hand corner of many pages of the website and can be accessed by clicking the “Start Chat” tab.
“The Chat feature is a great way to get connected to resources and programs in a quick and convenient setting,” explains Client Services Consultant Samantha Schech, MSS. “People seem to appreciate that the Chat transcript can be sent directly to their email to help capture the information discussed. We look forward to expanding the MS Chat feature and making it as easy and convenient as possible for the MS community to get the information and service they need.”
In addition to the Chat feature, individuals may also connect to the Client Services department by calling our toll-free Helpline at (800) 532-7667.