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We are dedicated to making Medicare's program work well for all beneficiaries. Your feedback from your own or your client's concerns and experiences with Medicare, will guide our Medicare advocacy efforts with key policy and decision-makers in both California and nationally with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Congress.

  • 24May

    While we wish is was as simple as telling apples from oranges, Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D coverage is quite different in how they cover outpatient drugs. It depends on the drug, where you receive it, and whether you are in Original Medicare or have a Medicare Advantage plan. Understanding how Medicare covers drugs can help you address denials and avoid unnecessary expenses. Below are a few points to help in understanding this difference, summarized by the Medicare Rights Center in one of their Medicare Minute publications.

    Point 1: Understand how you get Medicare prescription drug coverage. You can get Medicare prescription drug coverage through a Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan or through a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage. The Part B benefit also covers certain prescriptions. You have the Part B benefit regardless of whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan.

    Point 2: Understand which part of Medicare covers which outpatient prescription drugs. Most outpatient prescription drugs are covered under Part D, as long as they’re on your plan’s formulary, which is the list of drugs they cover. Certain outpatient drugs are covered by Part B, however. For example, Part B should cover your flu shot. Antigens – a type of prescription drug often used to treat allergies – are also covered by Part B, not Part D. The general rule is that Part B covers drugs that usually can’t be self-administered, meaning you need a provider’s help to take or inject them. Part B also covers a limited number of prescriptions from the pharmacy (mainly oral anti-cancer drugs).

    Some drugs may be covered by either Part B or by Part D, depending on the situation. For example, if you use an insulin pump, you probably get your insulin and pump from a durable medical equipment supplier, and Part B will cover it. If you inject insulin using a needle, Part D will cover it. If you are a hospital outpatient, Part B should cover all medications that relate to the reason for your hospital visit; however, Part D will cover medications that you administer yourself and do not relate to the hospital visit.

    Your pharmacist, your provider, or your plan (when applicable) can help you understand your prescription coverage. For objective counseling and assistance, you can also contact your local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP). HICAP can explain which part of Medicare should cover your drugs, depending upon your circumstances.

    Point 3: Understand the costs and coverage for your prescription drugs. Your costs and coverage depend upon which part of Medicare covers your drug. It also depends upon whether you are in Original Medicare or have Medicare Advantage. If you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan, your coverage and costs will depend upon what plan you have. If Part D covers your drug, make sure it is included in your plan’s formulary and that you use a preferred network pharmacy. Under Part D, you typically pay a set co-payment for your medications, after you meet a deductible. However, these amounts will vary depending on your plan and how much you have spent on prescriptions so far this calendar year.

    If Part B covers your drug and you are in Original Medicare, you or your supplemental insurance typically pay a 20 percent coinsurance, after meeting the Part B deductible. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, your out-of-pocket cost will vary based upon your plan. Those costs may also be higher than the 20 percent coinsurance under Original Medicare. If you get your medications from a pharmacy, make sure the pharmacy will submit claims for your Part B covered drugs to avoid unnecessary expenses.

    If Medicare denies coverage for a drug taken as a hospital outpatient, it may be that you can submit the charges to your Part D plan. Contact your plan to find out what steps to follow. You can also contact your SHIP for help understanding your coverage and addressing denials.

    If charges for medicines you didn’t receive show up on your Medicare statements, your Medicare number may have been used in a scheme to falsely bill Medicare. If you receive calls offering you a prescription drug discount card and requesting your bank account number, it is a scheme aimed at stealing your money. Contact our California Senior Medicare Patrol program (SMP) for help at 1-855-613-7080.

    Action steps to take:

    1) Make sure you understand which part of Medicare covers your prescription drugs.

    2) If you were denied coverage because your drug was billed to the wrong part of Medicare, contact your plan to find out what steps to follow.

    3) If you need help understanding Medicare’s prescription drug coverage or addressing denials, contact your local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program to discuss your options.

    4) If you receive suspicious offers or charges, contact our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080 to discuss and report potential abuse or fraud.

  • 10May

    Did you know that 1 in 10 Americans is affected by elder abuse? And that elders who have experienced abuse, even modest abuse, have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who had not been abused? (See NCEA data.) These are some very sobering statistics, yet they are not widely known! That’s why it’s important to spread awareness of this growing public health problem, that could affect any one of us if we’re blessed to live a long life into older adulthood. One way to do this is to promote the upcoming World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15.

    The National Center on Elder Abuse has a blog with several contributing writers on this topic and on spreading awareness for this day. One of the recent writers had the following suggestions on big and small ways to get involved and acknowledge the day:

    • Wear purple or a purple ribbon (and be prepared to talk about elder abuse if someone asks about your sartorial choices)
    • Post on Facebook or Tweet (#WEAAD2016) about elder abuse
    • Join the National Center on Elder Abuse’s “Finish this Sentence” campaign (“Together we can fight elder abuse by…”)
    • Ask your elected officials to sign a proclamation acknowledging WEAAD (here’s a great resource for a proclamation: Elder Abuse: What You Must Know)
    • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper (even if it doesn’t get published, you’ve probably educated the editor about the issue)
    • Host an event that brings people together – it can be educational, fun, inspiring, and awareness-raising. For ideas, check out our WEAAD Event map and be sure to add your event!

    Together our efforts can raise awareness and educate the public, professionals, policy makers, and the press about elder abuse. Thank you for your participation in #WEAAD2016!

    NOTE:  You can also join Administraion for Community Living for a webinar on “Getting the Word Out: Creating Compelling Communications for WEAAD” tomorrow, Wednesday, May 11, 11:00 AM (Pacific). Learn about working with the press, how to use social media, and what the research says about effective messages about elder abuse. No registration required just join at the time of the webinar.

  • 05May

    Fraudsters are! The article below takes a close, shocking look at the rising fraud specific to Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program, and the devastating effects it has on Medicare AND beneficiaries. Spending in the Part D program has more than doubled in 8 years, from $51 billion in 2006 to $121 billion in 2014, and that’s not all due to a legitimate increase in use of the benefit and is a significant tax on the financial health of the program. Part D fraud can also have direct harmful effects on beneficiaries as noted in some of the Office of Inspector General’s recent convictions. For example, several providers have actually harmed beneficiaries through false diagnoses and giving them unnecessary drugs, many of them high cost and high risk drugs for cancer or HIV.

    If you hear of or experience any such fraud as described below, please report it to our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 855-613-7080. See our fraud section for more info on other types of Medicare fraud and prevention tips.

    Fraudsters Cash in on Medicare Prescription Drugs: HHS Inspector General Takes Aim

    –By Jolie Crowder, MSN, RN, CCM with Health Benefits ABCs

    According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Fast Facts, the Medicare Part D program, which provides coverage for prescription drugs, spent $78.1 billion on 1.4 billion prescriptions for over 37 million people in 2014. The Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) puts total Part D costs for 2014 in the neighborhood of $121 billion. (See Figure 1, below.) That’s a lot of zeros. That’s also a juicy opportunity that Medicare scam artists can’t seem to pass up.

    Nuritsa Grigoryan, an OIG fugitive convicted of five different health care fraud-related charges, worked with coconspirators to generate thousands of prescriptions for expensive antipsychotic medications. Patient recruiters working for Grigoryan lured Medicare beneficiaries with cash payments, had them fill phony prescriptions, and then returned them to Grigoryan’s company. The outfit also stole Medicare identities to fill unneeded prescriptions. The “pill mill” scheme was estimated at $20 million.

    Fraud is not only costly, it can hurt. In 2015, Detroit oncologist (cancer specialist) Dr. Farid Fata was convicted of providing unnecessary cancer treatments, iron infusions, and other injections and infusions to 553 patients who never needed them. Fata also set up an in-house pharmacy, Vital Pharmacare, and required all of his patients to fill their prescriptions with him instead of using other retail pharmacies. While most injected and infused drugs for cancer are billed to Medicare Part B, many drugs taken by cancer patients for treatment or to control side effects are covered under Part D. Many of Fata’s patients suffered serious, life-altering side effects as a result of unnecessary treatments. The estimated cost to Medicare and other insurers was approximately $34 million.

    A big Medicare prescription drug fraud conviction in 2015 was against a Michigan pharmacy. Six convicted pharmacists took unused patient drugs from 800 nursing and adult foster homes, returned them to the pharmacy supply, then redispensed the medications to other patients. They billed insurers over $79 million for the misbranded and adulterated drugs, some of which were the wrong dose or wrong drug.

    According to testimony from Ann Maxwell, an OIG assistant inspector general, to the U.S. House of Representatives on July 14, 2015, Part D investigations marked $720 million for return to Medicare. This is the result of 370 criminal and civil actions from fiscal years 2012-2014. A related report noted that as of May 2015 the OIG had 540 pending Part D complaints and cases and had seen an increase of 134 percent since 2010. These civil and criminal actions are likely just the tip of the iceberg.

    As a result, the OIG FY 2017 budget justification listed Medicare prescription drug diversion and fraud among its priorities. The budget includes a request for an additional $68 million. These funds would help pay for an additional 172 more full-time equivalent employees to assist with Medicare and Medicaid oversight. The OIG uses funds to investigate and prosecute criminal and civil cases, conduct audits and evaluations, and offer legal guidance and recommendations on Medicare and Medicaid programs.

    Examples of past OIG findings include:

    • Identification of 1,600 Medicare beneficiaries who received $32 million in prescriptions for HIV drugs who didn’t have an HIV diagnosis in their medical records, received an excessive supply of drugs, or obtained drugs from a large number of pharmacies.
    • Over $1 billion in Part D plan payments made even though evidence of a legitimate Medicare provider identifier didn’t exist, including prescriptions written for medications by massage therapists and athletic trainers who aren’t licensed to write drug prescriptions.
    • Medicare beneficiaries are often the victims but can also be the perpetrators of fraud. Cases include beneficiaries who took cash payments or incentives in exchange for filling prescriptions they didn’t need or let doctors perform unnecessary medical procedures in exchange for narcotics.
    • While federal law doesn’t allow refills for schedule II drugs (like narcotic medications), Medicare was billed for $25 million in refills for these drugs.
    • Inadequate systems are in place to prevent payments for prescriptions that continue to be filled after Medicare beneficiaries have died.

    These findings, and others, were accompanied by recommendations to CMS to strengthen program integrity and fraud detection efforts.

    Tom O’Donnell, an assistant inspector general, stated that OIG concerns related to Part D are aimed at costs to taxpayers, medical identity theft, patient harm, and rising opioid (narcotic) deaths. Opioid abuse and diversion was also listed as a priority in the FY 2017 budget report.

    According to the OIG budget justification, CMS is the single largest health insurance program in the country, accounting for $836 billion in spending for the Medicare and Medicaid programs in 2015. These numbers will rise as baby boomers continue to age into Medicare and Medicaid programs continue to expand. The OIG predicted an additional 18 million people enrolled in Medicaid by 2018. CMS predicts the number of Medicare beneficiaries will hit 57 million by the end of 2016, with 41 million of those people taking advantage of Medicare Part D insurance.

    As Medicare enrollment numbers swell, so, too, will the cost of the Medicare Part D program. Fraud fighters need to be poised to thwart crooked providers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting beneficiaries and steal from the Medicare Trust Fund.

  • 26Apr

    Knowing about and using Medicare’s covered preventive care and screening services can protect your health and save you money. Below is a review from the Medicare Minute program.

    Point 1: Know which preventive and screening services Medicare covers.

    For those new to Medicare, Medicare covers a one-time Welcome to Medicare visit within the first 12 months you have Part B. You are also eligible for an Annual Wellness Visit to manage your health care. Medicare’s more specific preventive services that help detect potentially serious conditions include exams, shots (such as flu shots), lab tests, and screenings (such as HIV screenings). To help you take care of your own health, it also covers programs for health counseling (such as nutrition and smoking cessation counseling), and education (such as diabetes self-management training).

    Some preventive care services are covered once every few years, while others may be covered more frequently if they are needed to diagnose an illness or condition. Speak to your provider about scheduling times to receive preventive services. It is important to know that Medicare covers preventive care services only if they are truly preventive in nature. If your doctor identifies a health issue during your preventive care visit and needs to provide care to address it, you may be responsible for certain costs, such as the Part B deductible and coinsurance. For more information on Medicare’s preventive care services, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), or visit www.medicare.gov to find out if Medicare covers your test, service, or item.

    Point 2: Know how to prepare for your Welcome to Medicare and Annual Wellness Visits.

    Medicare covers a one-time, initial examination (also known as the Welcome to Medicare preventive visit) within the first 12 months you enroll in Part B. All people new to Medicare qualify for this visit. After you’ve had Part B for longer than 12 months, you can begin receiving Annual Wellness Visits. During each visit your provider will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, called a “Health Risk Assessment.” Answering these questions can help you and your provider develop a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy and get the most out of your visit. Note that you cannot receive your Annual Wellness Visit within the first year you are enrolled in Medicare or within the same year you have your Welcome to Medicare exam.

    Before your visit, make a list of illnesses that run in your family, surgeries, medical problems, treatments, injuries, allergies, and vaccines you’ve had, especially if you’re seeing a new provider. You should also make a list of all the medicines, vitamins, and supplements you use, including the doses and how often you take them. Remember to bring your lists with you and discuss them with your provider during your visit. Speaking with your provider is one of the best ways to make sure you receive the preventive and screening services you need.

    Point 3: Know the type of providers you should see.

    Original Medicare, you should receive preventive care services from providers who accept assignment. Assignment is an agreement by your provider to accept the payment amount Medicare approves for your health service or item, and not to bill you for any more than the Medicare- approved deductible and coinsurance. Part B now pays for most covered preventive and screening services at 100 percent of Medicare’s approved amount, so if you receive these services from a provider who accepts assignment, you will have no out-of-pocket costs. If you are in a Medicare Advantage Plan, your plan should not charge you for preventive care services that are free for people with Original Medicare, as long as you see in-network providers. In-network providers accept your Medicare Advantage Plan as insurance. If you do not see a Medicare-participating provider who accepts assignment or an in-network provider, charges will typically apply to your preventive care service.

    Note: You play a vital role in protecting the integrity of Medicare and can help detect fraud by carefully reviewing your summary of claims from Medicare or your plan. Always call your provider’s office to ensure they did not make a billing mistake. If your call is unsuccessful or if your provider is uncooperative, call our California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) at 1-855-613-7080.

     

  • 21Apr

    Did you know that our senior population is the fastest growing population group in America? And that worldwide the age group of 80+ is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million?! By the year 2017, the world — for the first time — will have more people 65 and older than children younger than 5. With so many people coming into “elderhood”, celebrating and honoring our older adults and empowering them to contribute and live rich, quality lives in their golden years will benefit all of society.

    Established in 1963, Older Americans Month (OAM) provides one way to do this, as it historically has been a time to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older persons in our country, in particular those who defended our country. Every President since Kennedy has issued a formal proclamation during or before the month of May asking that the entire nation pay tribute in some way to older persons in their communities. Older Americans Month is celebrated across the country through ceremonies, events, fairs, and other such activities.

    How will you celebrate this month? We encourage you to connect with the elders in your life — your grandparents, teachers, mentors, seniors in your community and find out what events are happening in your area. You can also host an event or gathering yourself. :-)

    The Administration for Community Living has a number of outreach materials. This year’s OAM theme is Blaze a Trail. We all blaze our own path in life and as an elder, what is the legacy you’ll be leaving? ACL has some tip sheets on blazing trails in the areas of civic engagement, finances, reinvention and wellness. Listed below are some past Older Americans Month themes.

    Here’s to all the elders in our country and the many contributions they have brought forth throughout their lives and the wisdom they shine in their golden years.

    For more information on OAM, see ACL’s news announcement.

    Past Older Americans Month Themes

    • 2015—Get into the Act
    • 2014—Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.
    • 2013—Unleash the Power of Age
    • 2012—Never Too Old to Play
    • 2011—Older Americans: Connecting the Community
    • 2010—Age Strong! Live Long!
    • 2009—Living Today for a Better Tomorrow
    • 2008—Working Together for Strong, Healthy and Supportive Communities
    • 2007—Making Choices for a Healthier Future
    • 2006—Choices For Independence
    • 2005—Celebrate Long-term Living
    • 2004—Aging Well, Living Well
    • 2003—What We Do Makes A Difference.
    • 2002—America: “A Community for all Ages”
    • 2001—The Many Faces of Aging
    • 2000—In the New Century … The Future is Aging
    • 1999—Honor the Past, Imagine the Future: Towards a Society for All Ages
    • 1998—Living Longer, Growing Stronger in America
    • 1997—Caregiving: Compassion in Action
    • 1996—Aging: A Lifetime Opportunity
    • 1995—Aging: Generations of Experience
    • 1994—Aging: An Experience of a Lifetime
    • 1993—No theme selected (proclamation signed on May 25, 1993)
    • 1992—Community Action Begins with You: Help Older Americans Help Themselves
    • 1986—Plan on Living the Rest of Your Life
    • 1985—Help Yourself to Independence
    • 1984—Health: Make it Last a Lifetime
    • 1978—Older Americans and the Family
  • 12Apr

    The world’s older population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. Today, 8.5% of people worldwide (617 million) are aged 65 and over. According to a new report by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and produced by the U.S. Census Bureau, “An Aging World: 2015,”  this percentage is projected to jump to nearly 17% of the world’s population by 2050 (1.6 billion). The report examines the demographic, health and socioeconomic trends accompanying the growth of the aging population.

    “An Aging World: 2015” contains detailed information about life expectancy, gender balance, health, mortality, disability, health care systems, labor force participation and retirement, pensions and poverty among older people around the world. Below are a few highlights.

    • America’s 65-and-over population is projected to nearly double over the next three decades, from 48 million to 88 million by 2050.
    • By 2050, global life expectancy at birth is projected to increase by almost eight years, climbing from 68.6 years in 2015 to 76.2 years in 2050.
    • The global population of the “oldest old” — people aged 80 and older — is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million. The oldest old population in some Asian and Latin American countries is predicted to quadruple by 2050.
    • Among the older population worldwide, noncommunicable diseases are the main health concern. In low-income countries, many in Africa, the older population faces a considerable burden from both noncommunicable and communicable diseases.
    • Risk factors — such as tobacco and alcohol use, insufficient consumption of vegetables and fruit, and low levels of physical activity — directly or indirectly contribute to the global burden of disease. Changes in risk factors have been observed, such as a decline in tobacco use in some high-income countries, with the majority of smokers worldwide now living in low- and middle-income countries.

    See the full report and news release at http://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/worlds-older-population-grows-dramatically.

    For more information on NIA, the government entity charged with conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people, see www.nia.nih.gov.

  • 05Apr

    Are you in a Medicare Advantage plan? Wondering what doctor(s) to use? You can review the Office of the Patient Advocate’s new Medicare report card for medical groups that are contracted with Medicare Advantage plans. This is a new resource can help you make your choice.  Let us know how it works for you! http://reportcard.opa.ca.gov/rc/MedicareMGCounty.aspx

  • 30Mar

    Nobody likes penalties, especially when it means paying more money. When it comes to Medicare, most people can avoid penalties by enrolling in Parts A, B and D when first eligible, during their Initial Enrollment Period. Those who don’t enroll during this time, may have a penalty. The IEP is different for different parts of Medicare. This article reviews the Part D late enrollment penalty (LEP) and exceptions.

    Unlike Part A and B late enrollment penalties that don’t start until someone has delayed enrollment for 12 or more months, the Part D LEP begins accruing 63 days after one’s initial enrollment period has ended. The penalty amount varies depending on how long one delays enrolling in Part D after becoming eligible. To calculate the cost, Medicare multiplies 1% of the national average Part D premium ($34.10 in 2016) by the number of months without coverage. And this penalty is paid for eternity….well, not exactly, but the point is the penalty stays and one will pay it as long as s/he has Part D coverage.

    Are there exceptions?

    Yes, there are a couple of exceptions. The LEP is waived if you had “creditable drug coverage” during the months of delayed enrollment. To be considered creditable, the coverage must be at least as good as Medicare’s standard drug coverage. This could be coverage from an employer, union, TRICARE, Veterans Affairs, Indian Health Services or a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage. Each year you should receive a letter from your health plan stating that your coverage is creditable. Hold onto this letter. You may need it if you sign up for Part D at a later time.

    Another exception is for people who qualify for the Part D low-income subsidy, known as Extra Help that covers most premium and deductible costs. Those who qualify do not have to pay a penalty, regardless of how long they didn’t have drug coverage.

    See Prescription Drugs for more information on Medicare Part D, and our section on late enrollment penalties for more info on Part A and B LEPs.

  • 17Mar

    Do you have long-term care insurance? Concerned about premium increases? If so, you’re not alone. This is a conundrum elders and policy makers face nationwide. With 1 year of nursing home care costing at least $90,000, who can afford such care? In the 1970s, policy makers hoped long-term care (LTC) insurance would be their answer. Yet this industry has been nothing short of disastrous, as most companies greatly underestimated how long people would live, how much nursing home care they would require, how few people would drop their policies, and how little interest they would actually gain from banked premiums. As a result, most LTC insurance companies have left the market and policyholders are grappling with steep premium increases from each year from the remaining companies. Even California’s CalPERS (California Public Employee Retirement System), the state workers’ retirement plan, has raised their premiums 85% in the last 2 years.

    Many policyholders were told to plan ahead and buy a policy early on to secure a good price, as the rates would just increase if one waited to buy a policy later in life. Well this early purchase has not paid off for many policyholders, such as one women featured in a recent Money Magazine article. Currently 69, she bought her policy 20 years ago and has had her premium quadrupled in the last 2 years. She’s facing 3 unattractive options: she can pay the higher cost; reduce the price by reducing the benefits in her policy; or cancel her policy. With so many people facing these undesirable options, California Health Advocates, along with several advocate groups, pushed for more consumer protections, including one that allows those who lapse in their policies to at least use an amount of benefits that equals the amount of premiums already paid out.

    With one of the fastest growing population groups being people who are 80 and older, our nation has a long-term care crisis on its hands. Currently Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), the federal public health insurance program for people with low-incomes and/or disability, covers about ½ of the nation’s long-term care costs and the price tag will continue to rise as baby boomers reach their 80s and 90s in growing numbers. Many people mistakenly assume Medicare, the federal health program for people 65 and older and those younger with disabilities will pay for long term care. While Medicare does pay for short nursing home stays after at least 3 days of inpatient hospital care, it does not pay for personal, or formally referred to as “custodial care” such as eating, bathing, cleaning, cooking, walking, dressing, etc. (See our Medicare Basics section for more info on Medicare coverage.) And, as highlighted, long-term care insurance has priced itself out of the middle class market, especially for women whose premiums are generally 40% higher than men’s.

    So where we go from here is something California Health Advocates and several other policy groups are working on. See our website for more information on long-term care and ways of financing LTC.

  • 08Mar

    Yes, and a big one. Over 26% of people in a recent poll said that health care costs posed a significant financial burden on them and/or their family. Forty-two percent of the people said they have paid all or nearly all of their savings on medical costs, and 27% said they were unable to pay for basic necessities such as food, heating, or housing. Seven percent have also declared bankruptcy because of health care costs. This is an unnecessary burden that faces both the younger population on Obamacare and the older population and people with disabilities on Medicare. In fact, a recent National Public Radio article notes that while 89% of Americans now have health insurance through Obamacare and Medcare, simply having insurance is no longer enough. The consumer costs keep rising.

    According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study done last year, more and more companies are also shifting rising health care costs to their employees. For example, the workers’ share of health insurance premiums for their families rose 83% from 2005 to 2015. The amount employees had to pay for deductibles for individual insurance also increased 255% from 2006 to 2015. These increases are much higher than growth in workers’ wages. And this example demonstrates what’s happening in all areas of health care coverage, with the sickest people being hurt the most.

    For more information on the poll, see NPR’s recent article, Medical Bills Still Take a Big Toll, Even with Insurance.

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