Trouble with Teens and Insurance

This weekend I attended the Arizona Association’s fifth annual family meeting, which had great guest speakers and huge turnout. I always love to visit Arizona, my second favorite state (thought Wyoming must come in a close third, as almost nothing can compare to the splendor and wonder of Yellowstone National Park).

The focus was on two things: transitioning teens, and insurance. The audience and I were riveted to speaker Jeff Leiken, who delved into the world of teenage boys and the lack of motivation, growth and development; their sense of hopelessness and addiction to video games. Bold subject, but backed by research: video gaming is altering the moods and even the wiring of our kids’ brains. Jeff pointed out how life is passing our kids by, how much they are missing by isolating themselves from others and socializing purely through the computer. Not healthy. And as we adults indulge our kids, we keep them from interacting with other adults, where they can explore possible mentors on which to model their lives. Jeff encouraged us to ask our teens tough questions: who are their role models for leadership—Kobe Bryant or Nelson Mandela? Guys who own stuff or guys who change the world? What movies do you watch: how do you feel afterwards? Which movies inspire you?

The talk was so good that parents congregated in the hallways afterwards, sharing concerns about their own children. And we didn’t even touch upon hemophilia!

On Sunday, there was a three-hour insurance symposium. I spoke about the history of our current insurance challenges: when did this all start, how does hemophilia fit in and what do parents need to know from history? Mike Bradley, Vice President, Healthcare Economics and Reimbursement at Baxter BioScience, spoke about current health care reform, specifically the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Mike pointed out the many components of the plan, and stressed the positive aspects of not having lifetime limits or preexisting condition clauses. But he also reminded us that the “devil is in the details,” and many details remain to be settled. He left us with a list of resources to check, including: your employer’s Human Resources Department, current insurance company, specialty pharmacy provider, the Bleeding Disorders Legal Hotline (800-520-6154), and HTC Social Worker, if you have one.
(Photos: Cindy Komar, Kisa Carter, Mike Bradley, Laurie Kelley; Michelle of HFA with a great giveaway!)

And visit www.healthcare.gov for a good explanation of the new legislation.

Last speaker was Kisa Carter, director of Public Policy for Hemophilia Federation of America (HFA). Kisa stressed how parents and patients can get more involved on many levels in supporting their state to advocate to protect access to health care. One thing we worry about is the backlash from the current legislation: will premiums rise? Will out of pocket expenses increase? These are the things we must protect against.

Congratulations to Cindy Komar and her board of directors for a well planned event, with attentive families and great logistics. It’s a pleasure to visit Arizona, and this Association. (Photos to follow after I get home!)

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