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It’s Here! The GMA Patient Portal is Now Live

Good things are worth waiting for! It took a little longer than we planned, but the GMA Patient Portal is now up on the website. Secure messaging will make it easy to communicate and make changes in your appointments, update your address, your payment info, to upload labs or other documents, and to manage your prescriptions and get information on your treatment. Current patients can sign up now. If you have any problems signing on, contact your Medical Assistant for help.

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12:00 Midnight Deadline to Sign Up for 2017 Insurance Through HealthCare.gov

ACA Sign Up Deadline 2017Get 2017 Health Insurance coverage. Health Insurance Marketplace

Official site of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Enroll now for 2017. See health coverage choices, ways to save today, how the law affects you.

HealthCare.gov

In California you can use Covered California. If you start your application at Covered California before midnight, you will have until February 4 to complete it.

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SAVE MEDICARE – Sign the Petition

At GMA we try to keep our political announcements confined to issues that specifically affect our patient population. This year there are more than usual.

Democarcy for AmericaFrom Democracy for America

Last week it became very clear that Trump and Paul Ryan are planning to privatize and cut Medicare and Medicaid — and it could happen as soon as this spring.

There’s no secret about what specifically Ryan has in mind. He intends to replace traditional Medicare, an efficient program offering guaranteed treatment and featuring rock-bottom administrative costs, with a privatized program. Seniors would get a federal voucher to help them pay premiums charged by commercial insurance plans. Ryan calls this system “premium support.”

But since the value of the vouchers would rise at less than the rate of healthcare inflation, and the costs of private insurance typically rise faster than those of Medicare, an ever-larger share of healthcare costs would land on seniors’ shoulders. In 2011, when Ryan first proposed this change, the Kaiser Family Foundation calculated that by 2022, healthcare spending would consume roughly half of the typical 65-year-old’s Social Security check, compared to only 22% under the existing Medicare system.

Paul Ryan is determined to gut Medicare. This time he might succeedLA Times

[Read more…]

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Accessing Affordable, Effective and Safe Medications

Robert_bransfieldBy Robert Bransfield, MD, DLFAPA

Editor: Dr. Bransfield was kind enough to share these resources that he has collected. There may be others than listed here.

Access to the appropriate medically necessary medication has been challenging for a number of reasons in our current healthcare system. If you are having difficulty accessing your prescribed medications you may be interested in the following resources:

Partnership for Prescription Assistance is a clearinghouse to network with drug companies that have patient assistance programs to provide medication for free to individuals that meet income requirements.

RX Outreach : Discount prices to individuals that meet certain income requirements.

A number of different companies provide discount cards for medications. Physicians are mailed these and they are on the Internet. [Read more…]

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Using Insurance For Your Naturopathic (or any) Doctor’s Care

File Health Insurance ClaimThe California Naturopathic Doctors Association has some excellent information on their website about getting your insurance to cover your naturopathic care. The links below will take you to their website, where you can find lots of detailed information on how to go about it. While Gordon Medical does not bill insurance directly, we will provide you with a superbill that is needed for you to do the billing. The info on the CNDA site will tell you how to go about it. Most of the info on the site will be the same for filing for any type of  doctor’s care, as long as the procedure provided is covered by your insurance.

According to the Affordable Care Act, the primary care services provided by your naturopathic doctor should be covered by PPO insurance plans. However, even though the services you receive from your naturopathic doctor are for the same primary care procedures that an insurance company would cover if offered by an allopathic (conventional) doctor, many insurance companies do not yet reimburse patients for services provided by a naturopathic doctor. We believe that insurance companies need to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act by covering or reimbursing patients for visits to a naturopathic doctor.

You can help make insurance coverage for NDs a reality! In the meantime, we offer the following information to help you make the best choices for both your naturopathic care and in case of a medical emergency:

How can I make the best use of my insurance coverage?
What is a superbill?
How do I find out what my insurance company will reimburse for an out-of-network provider?
How can I take advantage of a Health Savings Account?
How can I take advantage of a Flexible Spending Account?
What do I do if my insurance doesn’t cover my naturopathic doctor?
Submitting Superbills
Filing a Complaint

Using Insurance for Your Naturopathic Doctor Care – CNDA

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Good News for Patients of Naturopaths!

Elizabeth Large image

Elizabeth Large ND specializes in Naturopathic solutions that address the whole person.

From Elizabeth Large, ND

In the U.S. the topic of conversation is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Section 2706 is a huge game changer for our profession and our patients that becomes effective January 2014. Section 2706 prohibits insurers from discriminating against licensed health care providers with respect to participation in insurance.AANP has been working with state associations in licensed states to educate the state insurance commissioners so that they recognize that insurers must include naturopathic physicians. This has been a challenging process. As of January 2014 this effort takes a new shape as patients who are denied claims for ND medical care can challenge the denial to the insurance company and then the insurance commissioner. Patients who have been harmed by denials may have legal recourse supported by federal law. We have to be ready to support those patient reimbursement efforts.

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) Blog, 12/17/13

While this sounds good, there is a great deal of resistance by the conservative medical groups to inclusion of alternative practitioners. With 2706, patients and practitioners still may need to lobby, and possibly bring lawsuits to require full implementation. But now at least the door is open.

Read more about Section 2706 on the Huffington Post.

Reference Guide: Language/Sections on CAM and Integrative Practice in HR 3590-Healthcare Overhaul

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Feds boosting mental health access, treatment

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was signed into law in 2008 but not enforced
  • Insurance companies often cover mental illness in a more limited fashion than physical illness
  • Kathleen Sebelius’ announcement applies only to private insurance
  • HHS secretary to unveil new rules at Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy

(CNN)— In a move aimed at boosting mental health treatment, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday announced new rules that will put teeth in a 2008 mental health equity law.

TheMental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, signed by President George W. Bush, requires doctors and insurers to treat mental illness the same as physical illness.  Sebelius made the announcement to applause at the Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy in Atlanta.  The move “finally puts mental health and behavioral health on equal footing,” Sebelius said. On paper, the law made mental health more accessible, but there has been virtually no enforcement of it, said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, president of the American Psychiatric Association and a Columbia University psychiatrist.  “Up to now, the law has not been complied with,” Lieberman said. “Companies have only sort of adhered to it.” [Read more…]

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Obama Administration Expected To Release Mental Health Parity Rule Today.

Today, the Obama Administration is expected to issue its long-anticipated and final regulations defining parity in mental health benefits and treatment. Only one major newspaper, the New York Times, has covered the story. The Times is also the only source pointing out how the Administration believes the new parity regulations to be essential to the President’s program to counteract gun violence, saying that better access to mental health treatment may help reduce shootings and mass murders.

In a 1,300-word article on its front page, the New York Times (11/8, A1, Calmes, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that today, the Obama Administration “will complete a generation-long effort to require insurers to cover care for mental health and addiction just like physical illnesses when it issues long-awaited regulations defining parity in benefits and treatment.” An unnamed senior official said, “Here we’re doing full parity, and we’ve also taken steps to extend it to the people covered in the Affordable Care Act.” What’s more, the White House, according to the Times, sees the regulations “as critical to President Obama’s program for curbing gun violence by addressing an issue on which there is bipartisan agreement: Making treatment more available to those with mental illness could reduce killings, including mass murders.” [Read more…]