Friday, October 16, 2015


Low inflation in the US means people receiving Social Security payments won't be given a cost-of-living increase for 2016, the government said. Advocates said the news is of particular concern because of rising Medicare premiums and reduced buying power for health care. Also affected are federal retirees, disabled veterans and people getting help under the federal disability program for people with low incomes. The decision affects more than 70 million Americans.

Friday, September 18, 2015


$159.30 is the new normal for those ageing in to Medicare.
Medicare Part B prices impact everyone on Medicare, regardless, of whether they have a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage, and Part B prices are going UP! Since there is a 'hold harmless' law, current members cannot be given an rate increase since there is NO Cost of Living increase for Social Security coming. That means the 52% increase in Part B will be felt by those who don't have their Part B taken from SS ( a weird loophole), those who will be aging into as of Jan.1, and those with higher incomes that didn't pay the standard $104.90.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


If you need low cost health insurance we have plans available now that you can enroll in year-round. 
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Friday, August 14, 2015


With the current rise in prescription drug costs, several companies have popped up in recent years that promise to find consumers the lowest prices. The firms compare brand-name drugs with generic options and reveal the prices featured at local pharmacies.

Some commercial insurers offer their own price-comparison tools. OneRx, a mobile app launched nationally last week by New York health care analytics company Truveris, seeks to set itself apart by allowing a co-pay search based on the individual's insurer.

The app allows patients to enter their insurance information and find out what their co-pay will be for a prescription. To use OneRX, a picture is taken of the insurance card, and the information is available in a day. The information also can be entered manually.

At times, the app may reveal that a drug is more affordable without insurance because of step therapy requirements or other issues, said Bryan Birch, Truveris' chairman, president and chief executive.

The app takes into account manufacturer coupons, pharmacy discounts and other deals, independent of insurance coverage. Like competitor GoodRx, which also shows drug prices from different pharmacies, OneRx automates the process of searching for coupons so consumers don't have to ferret out savings on their own.

Ideally, patients will use the app while they're still in the doctors' office, which will boost their compliance with prescriptions, Mr. Birch said.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Kathleen Meiners was puzzled when a note arrived last year thanking her son Bill for visiting Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, Mo. Soon, bills arrived from the hospital for a leg-injury treatment. But her son had never been there.
Criminals are now getting medical treatment and prescriptions under stolen identities, and some hospitals are employing biometrics to verify patients' identities. "Criminals still go after retail and banks," said Ann Patterson, program director for the Medical Identity Fraud Alliance, "but the shift is into health care.
There has been over 20% growth in this crime since 2013. There were nearly 2.3 million victims in 2014 costing victims more than $20B out-of-pocket. Medical identity theft and fraud constitute a major societal problem exerting pressure on our healthcare and financial ecosystems.
At AFFINCON we offer the most comprehensive identity theft protection available today from LegalShield. Call us today at (678)464-8602 for additional information or go to to get additional information and enroll.

Thursday, July 23, 2015



As Medicare approaches its 50th anniversary next week, the federal program got some welcome financial news Wednesday: Its giant hospital trust fund will be solvent until 2030, and its long-term outlook has improved, according to a report from the program’s trustees.

But the report warned that several million Medicare beneficiaries could see their Medicare Part B monthly premiums skyrocket by 52 percent in January — from $104.90 to $159.30. Medicare Part B, which is paid for by a combination of federal funds and beneficiary premiums, generally covers physician and outpatient costs.

The huge rate hike is predicted because of two factors: Medicare Part B costs increased more than expected last year, and Social Security is not expected to have a cost of living increase next year. By law, the cost of higher Medicare Part B premiums can’t be passed on to most Medicare beneficiaries when they don’t get a Social Security raise. As a result, the higher Medicare costs have to be covered by just 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. This includes the 2.8 million Medicare enrollees new to the program next year, 3.1 million Medicare beneficiaries with incomes higher than $85,000 a year and 1.6 million Medicare beneficiaries who pay their premium directly instead of having it deducted from Social Security. An additional 9 million people affected by the higher rates are so called “dual eligibles” — those on Medicare and Medicaid. States pay the Medicare Part B premium for duals.

HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said she will examine her options and make a final decision on rates in October. “Seventy percent of enrollees in Part B will have no change in premiums,” she said at a briefing with other program trustees.  (Kaiser Health News)

Monday, July 20, 2015



Patients who choose Urgent Care Centers instead of hospital emergency departments may face unexpected bills if the center is not clear about participation in insurance networks. Patients who call and ask whether a given Urgent Care Center accepts their coverage may misunderstand the response and expect an in-network co-pay, not balance billing. The New York State attorney general's office recently told some clinics their website insurance information may be deceptive. If you plan to use an Urgent Care Center make sure you tell them specific details about your health plan when asking what they accept.  Better yet, check with your health plan to see if the Urgent Care Center is “in-network.”

Thursday, July 9, 2015


New findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveal that eating fruits and vegetables can help lower your risk of early mortality, by decreasing the likelihood for certain illnesses like cardiovascular disease.

For the study, researchers at the University of Copenhagen and Herleve and Gentofte Hospital collected data on 100,000 Danes, examining their intake of fruit and vegetables.

They discovered that high vitamin C concentrations in the blood were associated with a 15 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20 percent reduced risk of early death.

"Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables is a natural way of increasing vitamin C blood levels, which in the long term may contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death. You can get vitamin C supplements, but it is a good idea to get your vitamin C by eating a healthy diet, which will at the same time help you to develop a healthier lifestyle in the long term, for the general benefit of your health," Boerge Nordestgaard, a clinical professor at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at University of Copenhagen, said in a news release.

Friday, July 3, 2015


Health insurer Aetna, Inc. on Friday said it would buy smaller rival Humana, Inc. for about $37 billion in cash and stock, in the largest ever deal in the insurance industry.

The combination will push Aetna close to Anthem’s No.2 insurer spot by membership, and would nearly triple Aetna's Medicare Advantage business.

The deal will face antitrust scrutiny but if it goes through it would dwarf the previous largest insurance deal announced just this week, where Swiss property and casualty giant ACE Ltd. announced it was buying Chubb Corp for $28 billion. It would also dwarf Anthem's purchase of WellPoint in 2004 for $16.6 billion.

Analysts have said that M&A activity in the healthcare sector had been waiting for last week's Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare, which upheld key subsidies that underpin the reform and thus gave more certainty to healthcare insurers.

The bigger the insurer, the more power it has negotiating prices and improving its doctor networks.
Anthem has offered to buy Cigna Corp to create the largest insurer in the country, toppling UnitedHealth Group, Inc.

Media reports have also said UnitedHealth could be eyeing Cigna and Aetna. On Thursday, Centene Corp said it would buy smaller rival Health Net, Inc. for $6.3 billion.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the nationwide tax subsidies underpinning President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, rejecting a major challenge to the landmark law in a ruling that preserves health insurance for millions of Americans.

The justices said in a 6-3 ruling that the subsidies that 8.7 million people currently receive to make insurance affordable do not depend on where they live, as opponents contended.

The outcome was the second major victory for Obama in politically charged Supreme Court tests of his most significant domestic achievement. And it came the same day the court gave him an unexpected victory by preserving a key tool the administration uses to fight housing bias.

Obama greeted news of the decision by declaring the health care law "is here to stay." He said the law is no longer about politics, but the benefits millions of people are receiving.

Declining to concede, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said Republicans, who have voted more than 50 times to undo the law, will "continue our efforts to repeal the law and replace it with patient-centered solutions that meet the needs of seniors, small business owners, and middle-class families."

At the court, Chief Justice John Roberts again voted with his liberal colleagues in support of the law. Roberts also was the key vote to uphold it in 2012. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a dissenter in 2012, was part of the majority on Thursday.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


CHICAGO, IL - June 16, 2015
A hospital group in cash-strapped Illinois says the state might be able to set up a health insurance exchange at a lower cost by "leasing" the federal government's technology, an option that could appeal to as many as 34 states where subsides could be jeopardized by an unfavorable U.S. Supreme Court decision.

President Barack Obama has said there is no backup plan if the Supreme Court strips federal subsidies from the law in Illinois and the 33 other states that haven't created their own exchanges. The administration didn't respond Monday to the AP's requests for comment on the possibility of leasing

"We do believe that the administration is quietly discussing a lease option with the states and that it will roll out more specific guidelines in the event that the Supreme Court strikes down the subsidies," said Caroline Pearson, who follows the health law for the market analysis firm Avalere Health.

The four-page Illinois memo is the clearest plan yet for how the state could create a state-based exchange quickly should the justices rule that only people living in states with their own exchanges can get federal financial help.

The Supreme Court ruling is expected later this month, and the subsidies could end later in the summer unless Congress acts. Leading congressional Republicans are promising to help consumers who lose subsidies, but it's unclear Congress could pass any fix that Obama would sign.

Monday, June 15, 2015


A German study in Diabetes Care revealed that patients with type 1 diabetes who engaged in regular physical activity had better glycemic control and reduced cardiovascular risks, and the authors say patients should be encouraged to exercise. Researchers found inverse correlation between physical activity and HbA1C levels, diabetic ketoacidosis, dyslipidemia, hypertension and body mass index, as well as an inverse association between physical activity and retinopathy, microalbuminuria and severe hypoglycemia with coma.

Thursday, June 11, 2015



Legal Shield Logo

Every day there are over 40,000 victims of Identity Theft.  Identity theft is now ranked the FASTEST growing crime in America. In just minutes identity theft can cause financial damage and emotional harm that can take years to recover from.  


At AFFINCON, we now offer the most comprehensive identity theft protection available today, ID Shield from Legal Shield. ID Shield will equip you with the information and expertise you need to protect yourself and your family from identity theft and resolve the resulting issues.


The ID Shield plan provides the following services for each covered member:

  • Credit Reporting
  • Monitoring
  • Complete Identity Restoration
  • Minor Coverage
  • $5,000,000 Guarantee
The cost is less than a dollar a day.  Click Here to view a short video on Identity Theft from the Federal Trade Commission.  Call us at (678)464-8602 and we can help you provide this valuable protection for your family.  Do it today.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Major insurers in some states are proposing up to 51 percent premium increases for health plans sold under the Affordable Healthcare and Patient Protection Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Despite single digit increases for 2015, insurance companies are seeing their costs jump and are demanding to be compensated with dramatically higher rates.

When Insurance plans proposed 2015 rates last summer, they had only a little information about the health of the new customers they expected to sign up during the fall Obamacare expansion. Big insurers tended to ask for increases of less than 10%, while some smaller insurers tried to under-cut pricing by the major’s to take market share, according to the Wall Street Journal.


The Affordable Care Act was rushed into law and implemented with what now appears to have been grossly defective actuarial assumptions regarding costs. The same consumer groups that fought for Obamacare are already demanding federal and state officials put premiums under the microscope to curb some increases.

But with healthcare inflation running far ahead of inflation and insurers saying their huge proposed rates only reflect the revenue they need to pay claims, Obamacare seems destined to loom as a financial and political crisis this summer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


The Outreach Specialist Network, a nationwide network of benefits outreach specialists who help local residents receive benefits that they want, need, and deserve is pleased to announce that Ron Dutton has been selected as the Benefits Outreach Specialist to help serve our local community, by helping residents receive the benefits they want, need and deserve.


We are very proud to present the Most Innovative, the MostEffective, the Most Efficient and the Most Comprehensive Service available, The Outreach Specialist Network!  You can learn what is available and how to obtain those wanted benefits including, but not limited to:

  • Health insurance Subsidy
  • Prescription Drug Savings
  • Dental & Vision Benefits
  • Medicare Part A,B,C & D options
  • Diabetes Relief & Alternatives
  • Reverse Mortgages
  • And many, many more benefits

To learn more about The Outreach Specialist Network, get answers to your questions and find out how you can benefit visit the Website at:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


(Reuters) - Congress on Tuesday approved a bill to repair the formula for reimbursing Medicare physicians, marking a rare bipartisan achievement just in time to head off a 21 percent cut in the doctors' pay.
Final action came as the Senate voted 92-8 to approve the so-called "doc fix". The House of Representatives had acted over two weeks ago. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama, and he is expected to sign it into law.
The measure, drafted last month by Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, appeared to be the first major legislative accomplishment of the 2015-2016 Congress, suggesting some progress toward easing years of gridlock on Capitol Hill.
In a statement, Obama applauded lawmakers for passing the bill, saying it would strengthen the U.S. healthcare system. "I will be proud to sign it into law," he said.

Friday, February 20, 2015



The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM). This special enrollment period will allow those individuals and families who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the FFM.


For those who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of the fee for not enrolling in coverage, CMS will provide consumers with an opportunity to purchase health insurance coverage from March 15 to April 30.  If consumers do not purchase coverage for 2015 during this special enrollment period, they may have to pay a fee when they file their 2015 income taxes.


Those eligible for this special enrollment period live in states with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace and: 

  • Currently are not enrolled in coverage through the FFM for 2015,
  • Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014, and
  • Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.

The special enrollment period announced today will begin on March 15, 2015 and end at 11:59 pm E.S.T. on April 30, 2015.  If a consumer enrolls in coverage before the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective on the first day of the following month. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


The House voted Tuesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act, getting Republicans on record in favor of overturning the law for the first time since the party took control of Congress.

The bill passed on a 239-186 vote. 

President Obama already has threatened to veto the legislation.

"We need health care reform that makes the system more responsive to patients, families and doctors -- reforms that preserve and protect the doctor-patient relationship. Right now, ObamaCare is moving our health care system in the exact opposite direction where the American people are paying more and getting less," Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., said in a statement after the vote. "In the House of Representatives, we are saying we need to get rid of this law that's not working and focus on solutions that will embrace the principles of affordability, accessibility, quality, innovation, choices, and responsiveness." 

Republicans, as their next major step, are planning to draft legislation offering an alternative to the ACA. The bill approved Tuesday also directs House committees to begin work on an alternative plan, in case the Supreme Court rules against the law. 

Monday, January 26, 2015



Many people don’t realize that they only have 20 more days to enroll in a health insurance plan for this year.  This year’s enrollment period ends on February 15th.  Only those who have a “Qualifying Life Event” (such as: loss of coverage, marriage, divorce, moving) will be able to purchase health insurance after the enrollment period is over.  Most people will have to wait until the next enrollment period in the fall to get health insurance, to be effective on January 1, 2016.   I can help.  Call me at (678)464-8602 or visit my website.  Time is running out!