Insurance Expertise for Free

It’s that time of the year again… Open Enrollment, when you can change your health insurance policy or plan. But you can’t change unless you know what your needs are, and can calculate what your budget is and what expenses will be. Insurance is frustrating, it’s daunting, and with a bleeding disorder, it’s expensive.

But I just saw this on Facebook, which made me happy for two reasons: 1) a licensed insurance broker can help you get started for free, and 2) he’s a wonderful person I’ve known for a long time.

Meet Alexander Ell!

For over 10 years, Alex has helped over one thousand clients with their insurance across multiple states and numerous insurance companies. Alex’s goal is to walk you through the process, providing non-biased advice about the best plan for your needs and goals. His website helps you learn the basics of insurance, defines the many acronyms that insurance loves to use, and has a Frequently Asked Questions section.

On Facebook, he wrote: “Hey everyone! If you hear of any friends or family that need help with their Medicare or Health Insurance, please send them my way. I’ve been a licensed insurance broker for over 10 years. My services are free and I provide non-biased advice about the best plan for their needs and goals. I’m licensed in ID, NV, OR, WA, TX, GA, and FL. If you have any questions, please reach out to me.

Alex has navigated the complex healthcare system for himself as he has hemophilia. Now he’s here to do the same for you! Contact him to get started with a free consultation today.

Medicare… Me?

Yup. This week I turn 65, and I am officially on Medicare! It makes turning 65 a joyous event. Really!

Switching healthcare policies over to Medicare was surprisingly easy. But partly this is due to my previous work on hemophilia and healthcare. Back in 2005, we were the ones to alert the community to the “Coming Storm” in insurance. We alerted the community that choice was going to start getting restricted; you would need to accept tiers of medicine, PBMs were going to dominate, and choice of factor may no longer exist. All this in the name of healthcare cost-cutting. And it all came to be.

We took our message out on the road, in a live-action form of our newsletter PEN’s Insurance Pulse, calling the workshops Pulse on the Road. We did this for 10 years. I must say that Michelle Rice, mother of two with hemophilia and formerly with the National Hemophilia foundation was our healthcare insurance guru, and taught me so much!

Glory days! Michelle Rice, Kelly Lynn Gonzalez and Laurie Kelley

And now I get to use it. Medicare is for anyone over age 65. It’s an entitlement program; you start contributing to it when you start working, kind of a forced saving plan. It’s made up of several parts. Part A is free of cost, but has limited healthcare coverage. It covers medically necessary inpatient hospital care (including rooms, meals, general nursing and drugs), skilled nursing facility care, some nursing home care (if following an inpatient hospital stay) and hospice care.

Part B is optional but I strongly urge everyone to get it; it doesn’t cost that much per month as an add on. It covers: medically necessary doctor services; outpatient medical care; durable medical equipment; some preventive care and other medically necessary services Part A doesn’t cover, such as ambulance services; cardiovascular, cancer and diabetes screenings; and laboratory services. Pretty important stuff, especially as you age.

Part D covers prescription drugs.

Our community is aging, which is good news! But people with hemophilia from previous generations, now in their 60s and 70s will have health issues, such as joint deterioration. It really pays to advocate, ask lots of questions and learn more about Medicare. You can enroll during the month you turn 65, but you should start researching it and apply for it three months before that. Go to to learn how to apply.

Until then, enjoy your youth! And stay on top of all insurance, Medicare or not.

No Wonder There’s No Money for Factor

Just some food for thought, while we all contemplate our diminishing choices over healthcare. I read this in the latest Time magazine:

$100 billion: Amount that the new budget proposed by President Bush would save over five years by trimming Medicaid and Medicare costs…

$100 billion: Additional funding Bush is seeking for Iraq and Afghanistan for fiscal 2008, on top of $70 billion already requested this year.

Very slick of Time magazine: juxtaposing the two figures makes you naturally ask, why is Medicaid being targeted for cost cuts and limited choice? To fund this war? The answers are never so clear cut. This is sensationlism journalism, of course.

And yet I can think of 12 families with hemophilia off the top of my head who are suffering due to increasingly limited healthcare coverage in their states. We have elections coming up in November 2008; candidates are already announcing their entry into the race. It will be great to get a dialogue going now on how our federal and state budgets are being used, and use our right and power to vote, to protect our healthcare dollars. Be ready for 2008, and read up on the candidates now. Will their decisions about how to end his war in turn impact health care budgets?

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