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Global Healthy Living Foundation Launches Comprehensive Support Center to Navigate Health Insurance Decision-Making During Open-Enrollment

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State-by-State Resources Available to All Chronic Disease Patients

Today, Global Healthy Living Foundation announced the launch of A
Patient's Guide to Insurance Enrollment
to help people
living with chronic disease understand and make decisions about their
health insurance coverage options. "Patients shouldn't need specialized
education to understand insurance, but unfortunately, they do because of
the complex structure of insurance policies," said Seth Ginsberg,
president and co-founder of the Global Healthy Living Foundation.

A Patient's Guide to Insurance Enrollment defines common
benefit terminology, explains how to decode a formulary and tiered drug
lists to determine available prescription coverage, organizes the
paperwork and information a family needs to apply for coverage, and
guides people to resources in every state that are set up to facilitate
enrollment in private, employer-based, and/or public health insurance
options. The program launch anticipates the start of open enrollment to
2019 health insurance contracts, typically in November, to allow people
ample time to access this resource. It was designed to be used by
patients and their families in need of specialty care for any chronic
disease.

"People managing a lifelong, chronic illness rely on stable access to
their doctors and medications, but the deliberately complex language
used in health insurance policies makes it hard for people to decipher
available benefits and their price points," Mr. Ginsberg said. "Insurers
can change programs within the fine print, and these changes can cost
patients more money out-of-pocket. Our response was to create an online
resource to arm the chronic disease community with what they need to
know to identify, apply, and sign-up for the optimal health plan they
can afford – while avoiding some new plan design features that hit
patients' wallets hardest."

A Patient's Guide to Insurance Enrollment expands on the
recently published A
Patient's Guide to Healthcare
, a comprehensive and free,
downloadable booklet that explains the different kinds of insurance
coverage available while empowering patients to advocate for themselves
and the chronic disease community.

Protocols and Policies Impede Patient Care

Every day, Global Healthy Living Foundation hears from people living
with chronic diseases, ranging from osteoarthritis, chronic inflammatory
diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis or Crohn's Disease, migraine, and
cardiovascular disease, regarding the challenges they face accessing the
treatments they've selected in consultation with their health care
provider. Health insurance protocols such as step therapy ("fail
first"), prior authorization, and non-medical switching all delay or
sometimes prevent access to prescribed medications, which can lead to
serious health consequences. The newest and often unannounced protocol
employed by health insurance companies to influence prescription
coverage are co-pay accumulator adjustment programs, which shift the
cost of prescribed medications to patients because they do not apply the
value of their co-pay assistance card to patients' deductibles.

"For years, my co-pay assistance card covered $12,000 in annual
prescription assistance, which more than covered my deductible and
co-pays, thereby allowing me to maintain stable access to my medications
to adhere to my treatment plan," said Kip Burgess, a Chicago-based CreakyJoints®
member who also serves as a patient governor to the ArthritisPower®
Research Registry
. "This March, I was shocked to be billed for my
medication by the specialty pharmacy, and it took more than two weeks of
phone calls and emails to find out from my health insurance provider
that my co-pay assistance was used up, but not applied to my deductible.
Out of the blue, I owed $4,500 to cover my deductible and my co-pay
jumped from $10 to $200. Certainly, I didn't budget for this expense nor
did it seem fair given how my plan worked in the past. I received no
communication about the change."

"Kip's experience is not isolated. Many of our members have found that
insurance companies are shifting drug costs to them, despite the
availability of co-pay assistance," stated Mr. Ginsberg. "Given our deep
understanding and concern about health insurance protocols and their
impact on the patient-provider relationship, A Patient's Guide
to Insurance Enrollment
prepares the chronic disease community
to translate insurance policy language and to discover provisions that
might limit their access to medicine."

A Patient's Guide to Insurance Enrollment is available for
free at http://www.50statenetwork.org/patient-guide-health-insurance/

About ArthritisPower®

Created by CreakyJoints
and supported by a multiyear, multimillion dollar investment by the
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), ArthritisPower
is the first-ever patient-centered research registry for joint, bone,
and inflammatory skin conditions. The free ArthritisPower mobile and
desktop application allows patients to track and share their symptoms
and treatments while also participating in voluntary research studies in
a secure and accessible manner. ArthritisPower Patient Governors serve
as gatekeepers for researchers who seek access to registry data or
solicit the community to participate in unique, voluntary studies. To
learn more and join ArthritisPower, visit www.ArthritisPower.org

About CreakyJoints

CreakyJoints is a digital community and advocacy organization for
millions of arthritis patients and caregivers worldwide who seek
education, support, advocacy, and patient-centered research. We
represent patients through our popular social media channels, our
website www.CreakyJoints.org,
and the 50-State Network, which includes more than 1,200 trained
volunteer patient advocates.

As part of the Global Healthy Living Foundation, CreakyJoints also has a
patient-reported outcomes registry called ArthritisPower with more than
17,000 consented arthritis patients who participate in longitudinal and
observational research. CreakyJoints also publishes the popular series
"Raising the Voice of Patients," which are downloadable patient-centered
navigational tools for managing chronic illness. For more information
and to become a member (for free), visit www.CreakyJoints.org.

About Global Healthy Living Foundation

The Global
Healthy Living Foundation
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people living with
chronic illnesses (such as arthritis, osteoporosis, migraine, diabetes,
psoriasis, and cardiovascular disease) by advocating for improved access
to health care at the community, state, and federal levels, and
amplifying education and awareness efforts within its social media
framework. GHLF is also a staunch advocate for vaccines. The Global
Healthy Living Foundation is the parent organization of CreakyJoints,
the digital community and advocacy organization for millions of
arthritis patients and caregivers worldwide who seek education, support,
advocacy, and patient-centered research through ArthritisPower,
the first-ever patient-centered research registry for joint, bone, and
inflammatory skin conditions. Visit www.GHLF.org
for more information.

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