Category Archives: Sick Care News

How to Maximize 2017 Income Tax Medical Deductions

One of the deductions that may disappear with the proposed federal tax reform bill is the one for medical expenses.

Currently if you itemize your expenses, you can deduct qualified medical expenses that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). For those age 65 and older, the available deduction is 7.5%.

According to the IRS, the following may be included as qualified expenses for most medical and dental expenses you paid for yourself, your spouse and your dependents for:

    • Diagnosing, treating, easing or preventing disease
    • Prescription drugs and insulin
    • insurance premiums for policies that cover medical and dental care
    • Some long-term care insurance costs

The cost of nutritional and herbal supplements and other natural medicines can only be deducted when they are recommended by a medical practitioner as treatment for a specific medical condition diagnosed by a physician.

Given the uncertainty about whether medical expense deductions will be available in 2018, it is wise to avoid delaying any qualified medical expenses you can if you itemize expenses on your tax return.

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Unaffordable Rx: 9 Ways to Save

In the U.S., prescription drug prices continue their meteoric rise. The truly outrageous increases hit the national news outlets and some result in congressional hearingsFor example, Mylan, the maker of the life-saving EpiPen allergy-reaction injector, increased the price of its two-pack from $100 in 2009 to $608 in 2016.Nitropress, a common blood pressure drug, rose more than 300%, soaring from $214 to $881 last year. On average, drug prices have doubled in the last decade, according to AARP.

Simultaneously, insurance company formularies of covered drugs have narrowed, while co-pays have increased. This double-whammy has hit older Americans the hardest, as they use more medications than any other age group. Many retirees with limited income are faced with deciding whether to spend their limited funds on needed medications or on food.

As this situation will continue to worsen in the future, it’s getting more important to find ways to obtain the medications you need at better prices. Continue reading Unaffordable Rx: 9 Ways to Save

Why You Need a Healthcare Buddy

Danger Everywhere

Using our healthcare system can be dangerous to your health. Of late,  the media has been filled with reports of life-threatening superbug infections caused by an invasive scope used to assess gastrointestinal health. It took the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) 3 years to discover that Olympus, the maker of the scope causing infections at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center, was responsible because Continue reading Why You Need a Healthcare Buddy

AMA Finally Does About-Face on Consumer Drug Ads

The U.S. pharmaceutical market is the world’s largest, accounting for 40% of the industry’s global revenue and about 60% of its drug patents. Pharma supports the largest lobbying force in the nation and, according to a recent article in the prestigious BMJ (British Medical Journal), spends 19 promotional dollars for each dollar spent on basic research.

Billions of dollars are spent annually on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, which is a major revenue source for consumer magazines, television and a growing number of websites. In 2014, Pharma spent $4.5 billion on magazine and TV drug ads, a 21% increase over the prior year. In a recent issue of Time, 34 of the 152 pages were drug ads–that’s 22%.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has long supported Pharma’s DTC efforts, as Pharma controls the bulk of medical research funds these days and supports medical journals with heavy advertising of their products. This is in sharp contrast to earlier times when the majority of research emanated from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , funded by the federal government–and there were no drug ads in academic, peer-reviewed journals. Continue reading AMA Finally Does About-Face on Consumer Drug Ads

Read ALL the Side Effects for Your Rx

All drugs have side effects. Even if you don’t take any prescription drugs, you’ve certainly seen the TV ads that spend far more time on the drug’s side effects than on what the medication is designed to treat.

The prescribing information doctors receive has the most serious side effects set off in a “black box” Continue reading Read ALL the Side Effects for Your Rx

Comparing Treatment Costs

Prices for the same medical procedure can vary by more than 700% in the same city, according to a report from two business coalitions representing the nation’s largest employers—the Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Project.

Only Massachusetts and New Hampshire scored an “A” grade for sharing extensive price information on inpatient and outpatient services. Only 14 states Continue reading Comparing Treatment Costs

Shifting From Treatment to Cause

When a prominent cancer doctor gets cancer, it’s a reminder that serious disease can come calling on anyone. Dr. Susan Love is at the forefront of breast cancer as a researcher, surgeon, professor and author of the definitive book on the disease. But when she was diagnosed with leukemia, Continue reading Shifting From Treatment to Cause