Blues plans awarded for fighting MS while patients fight for coverage

After raising more than $1 million in the last 10 years to fight multiple sclerosis, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have been recognized as part of the National MS Society's Circle of Distinction, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced Friday.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies understand the toll this disease can take on families because of the impact it has had on many of their members," said Scott Serota, president and CEO of BCBCSA, which includes 37 independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensees. "As leaders in healthcare, Blue companies are committed to supporting their members by funding cutting-edge research, facilitating professional education."

News of this award comes amid reports of how managing multiple sclerosis looks from the other end of the health insurance telescope, especially as Americans diagnosed with MS scramble to find new coverage after becoming detached from prior health plans. 

Cases in point: A woman on medication for MS contacted the office of Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) to complain that she can't find replacement insurance covering both her current doctors and medications, according to the Associated Press. She's one of about 250,000 Pennsylvanians who face insurance cancelations for reasons linked to the Affordable Care Act--cancelations state officials are trying to delay.  

Meanwhile, another woman in Kentucky who lost her job after being diagnosed with MS began taking less than the prescribed amount of her medication since she couldn't afford refills, The New York Times reported. Exacerbations resulted. But last month, the woman successfully signed up for Medicaid after getting help from a Kentucky specialist trained to assist people with health plan enrollment. 

For more:
- read the BCBSA announcement
- see the AP article
- check out the New York Times article