New Infographic Report Helps COPD Patients Pick Appropriate Health Plan

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Choosing a health plan can be difficult, especially when you have high-cost health needs due to a chronic disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The American Lung Association offers this infographic to help guide you through the process of picking a health plan through the health insurance exchanges.

American Lung Association offers infographic report to help patients with COPD choose the right health plan on the exchange

Understanding the true total costs associated with each of the available plans is so important. Having access to care doesn’t help patients with COPD unless they can afford to utilize it. - Harold P. Wimmer, American Lung Association

Choosing a health plan can be difficult, especially when you have a chronic disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with high-cost health needs. In order to help Americans under the age of 65 who are not yet eligible for Medicare determine the best health plan available to them, the American Lung Association developed an infographic to guide patients through the process of picking a health plan through Healthcare.gov or a state exchange.

“The American Lung Association is very concerned that patients with chronic diseases such as COPD may not be selecting and using the best health insurance plan for their circumstances because they were not aware of what their out-of-pocket costs would be,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “That’s why understanding the true total costs associated with each of the available plans is so important. Having access to care doesn’t help patients with COPD unless they can afford to utilize it.”

Millions of Americans have COPD, a chronic lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema and makes it hard to breathe. The good news is that COPD is often treatable, but choosing the best health plan on Healthcare.gov—given the many options—can be difficult or confusing when the out-of-pocket costs of healthcare expenses for the year are hard to determine, especially for individuals who have been underinsured or previously not insured.

When choosing a health plan, it’s important to consider all of the factors that can affect yearly out-of-pocket costs, which include the premium, deductible and co-pay or coinsurance amounts. Also, it is important to check plans’ coverage for doctors and specialists, hospitals and medications.

“There is a lot to consider when choosing a health plan,” Wimmer said. “Through this resource, we hope to help consumers better understand how to make the best choice, and pick a plan that is likely to result in the lowest out-of-pocket costs to the patient.”

The deadline to enroll in a healthcare plan is January 31, 2016, and the American Lung Association will be sharing this educational infographic to help inform patients about their choices. Patients may also call the Lung Association’s free HelpLine (1-800-LUNGUSA) to speak with a certified enrollment counselor to help patients choose the best health plan.

Patients with COPD who have high-cost health needs are likely to reach the maximum out of pocket (MOOP) expenses. Adding the total premiums to the MOOP should give these patients an estimate of total yearly costs.

“This is important information because we know patients may put off care to avoid co-payments or other out-of-pocket expenses that may lead to worse health outcomes,” Wimmer said. “Without this analysis, patients may not be able to accurately estimate their costs and utilization of healthcare services to pick the best plan for their circumstances.”

“A strategic imperative of the Lung Association is to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families, and this report is designed to guide COPD patients under the age of 65 in choosing the best plan to meet their healthcare needs.”

For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health, COPD and exchange plan coverage, contact the American Lung Association at Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7628.

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About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

American Lung Association • 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150 • Chicago, IL 60601
1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) Lung.org

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Allison MacMunn

Allison MacMunn
@LungAssociation
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