tv NBC10 Issue NBC December 6, 2015 11:30am-12:01pm EST
the grip of heroine is worse than ever. we hear from a local mom who lost her son to an overdose. she and a new jersey lawmaker are hoping a breakthrough detox program will move recovery to the next level. that, plus time is running for picking a medicare plan. we have tips. and where the affordable care act stands two years in. good morning, i'm rosemary connors for nbc10 "@ issue." we beginning with the growing hair heroin epidemic. if you think the people you love are not at risk, there are people who will tell you, you
are dead wrong. with me are two of those people, freeholder director in camden county and, of course, patty, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> we begin first with pattie, who lost her son to a heroin overdose in september of 2010. petition she's a member of the camden county addiction task force. tell us about your son sal and how he died. >> sal was like any other boy growing up. he had hopes and dreams. he did struggled with addiction. going into his teen years into his 20s, we struggled. in and out of rehab facilities, never getting the full treatment he needed and deserved due to insurance barriers. the last time we got sal into treatment, we actually had to lie and say he was abusing alcohol because once -- every time we said heroin, it didn't meet the criteria, so we told them it was alcohol and they took him right in. after 12 days we received the
phone call saying his insurance had run out again and we need to come pick him up. we picked him up, got him into an iop program, which is only three nights a week. he went to that. did well. on his 90th day clean, he left my house to go to iop and at 3:37 that morning, the police came to my door to tell me they found him in camden of an overdose. i was told that it appeared that someone was with sal when he overdosed but for whatever reason they didn't call 911 to report the overdose, so he was left to die. that's when i began advocating for a 911 law, which i think i advocated -- i started in 2011. governor christie signed it into law on may 2nd, it grand immunity to someone who on good faith calls 911 to report overdose and expands the zone, which saves someone if they overdose.
i do believe if this law were in effect when sal were alive, that possibly the person with him would have called 911 to save him. if the police had narcan, he would have been saved. none of that happened and i did lose my son. >> you touched on something interesting about being addicted to heroin. i speak for a lot of us and our viewers, many of us suffer from the disease of addiction, but there's something very different about heroin as a drug. >> yes. once it takes ahold of them, it can't get out of that grip. it's terrible. like i said, my insurance, most insurance, once you say heroin, they say it doesn't meet their criteria. i was always told i had to take my son home to detox because it was heroin. >> certainly, we've seen great strides in camden county and other suburban areas in the philadelphia region in which police forces are using narcan. the medics are using narcan to
bring people back, you know, who may be in a heroin overdose. certainly, that's been happening in camden county. >> it has. pattie has inspired us to form this addiction task force we have in place. its goal was to raise awareness. it's not an urban problem. it's an urban and suburban problem. if you look at most of the folks buying drugs in some of our urban cities, about 80% to 90% are from the suburbs. we want to make that clear and get that message out there. our next goal is to get narcan into every police department in camden county, which we have done successfully. so far this year there have been over 400 saves in camden county alone, because narcan is with every police department. but the next step, and pattie just addressed this is, what about treatment? there are so many barriers to treatment out there.
we came up with operation sal, after a person receives a narcan treatment, they're in the emergency room in camden county, one of our four hospitals, we will offer at that time what we call a warm handoff to a treatment facility. we've set aside $150,000 for treatment for folks willing to get treatment in the emergency room. all of our hospitals have been very cooperative. they have now trained all of their emergency room personnel about this program. so, it's just going into effect. we're hoping to direct people into treatment with our limited resources when they are offered at the emergency room. >> that $150,000, where does that come from? >> it's different grants we receive for health purposes and addiction services in camden county. >> as you said, this is the next step. and what happens beyond it? >> we don't know. this is such a national problem.
we need the help of the medical community, the help of the pharmaceutical community. they are the ones prescribing these opiate drugs that lead to the addiction. it all starts with pills. for the most part, this starts with pills getting the medical community to participate and the pharmaceuticals companies to participate is difficult. getting insurance companies to pay for treatment is difficult. under obamacare, i think we'll start seeing more treatment. but this needs to be a national focus and it takes a lot to fight this. >> we have family members who have their kids on a waiting list. it's a four-week waiting facility to get into a treatment facility? what other disease does that to someone? >> and what may happen in those four weeks? >> that's when they're most vulnerable. >> i'm curious what the response was initially in going to the hospitals in camden county and saying, we to want do a warm
handoff, in which we administer narcan to someone who is overdosing, we're going to bring them to your facility? >> all hospitals have been great. they all jumped on board. we're getting full participation from the hospitals. we're very pleased with that. we have a great provider of treatment who's willing to accept limited funds we have. we now have the infrastructure in place. we now need to convince folks in crisis this is the right step, the next step. >> and i think for pattie, this is where people like you come in, family members who have lost loved ones in their life. what do you say to people who are addicted to heroin? what do you say to their families? >> this is a gift. an absolute gist. they need to jump on it. the problem is, family members are on board. that person struckling, sometimes they're not on board at the moment. that's when you need to get them. if we can get them, it's going to be successful.
because they have to want it. >> did it start with pills with your son? >> no. he started with marijuana, which is the gateway drug, then went to pills. when he couldn't afford the pills or find them in my house, he turned to heroin because it's much cheaper. >> the heroin is so cheap now. the pills, i believe, were anywhere from $30 to $50 per pill on the black market. the heroin is 5 to 10 bucks a bag. >> i have to be honest and i debated whether or not i would share this, but earlier this summer i -- i was looking out my window late at night, i was up and a car pulled up, a bunch of guys, i thought they had been out, maybe having a cheesesteak. their windows were down. i'm one floor up from the city. i live in old city philadelphia. close to many tourist attractions. i was looking at my window, kind of observing. and i watched someone in the
backseat shooting up. what i gathered later is i think they were waiting for someone -- their dealer. i was so disturbed. one of my first thoughts was their family and parents. >> they were probably worried about them at that moment. >> or had no idea. >> right. >> this disease, there's no barriers. these are folks from the richest neighborhoods in camden county to the poorest. it's probably more from the richer areas. >> what i observed in this chance observation is the car had plates from maryland, which to me may be -- it's not -- it's certainly our immediate area, but other people coming into philadelphia and camden. >> we need to make it a national focus. that's the only way we'll solve this problem. it's going to take politician who is are courageous enough to talk about this issue. it can't be swept under the rug. people can't put their heads in the sand. this is something that needs to be addressed now.
think about it. 450 saves so far in camden county alone. >> camden county freeholder director, thank you for being with us, pattie, thank you for sharing your son sal's story. we appreciate it. coming up, the deadline for picking or changing your medicare plan is looming. if you're confused about how to start, we can help. we have tips for navigating medicare signup.
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you can't miss them. tv ads promoting medicare plans. they are all over the air waves because medicare enrollment for the year is right now. but time is running out. you only have until the end of tomorrow to pick or change a plan. joining me now is mariel lenz. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. we should say it's a nonprofit organization, based in philadelphia. you work to improve the quality of older adults in our city.
>> yes, that's correct. >> we have a lot of information to get to. we have a lot of numbers. if you have a pen or pencil handy, get it so you have it handy. we should talk about the deadline for enrolling. >> yeah. every year medicare has open enrollment and that basically means for folks who are beneficiaries, they may want to change their plans, the open enrollment time is december 7th. >> tell us about these ads. seems you can't turn on the tv without seeing them. what's the difference? >> those are typically for medicare advantage plans. medicare advantage plans are plans that will -- medicare will pay private insurance plans to offer the things that medicare offers but basically some extra things as well and maybe a drug plan, too.
so that's open enrollment. if someone has a keystone plan or aetna plan, it's their opportunity to decide, well, do i to want stay with that plan or do i want to go to a different plan? >> let's talk about the difference between medicare part a, medicare part b. walk us through it. >> original medicare that was traditionally for those 65 and over. it's been around for 50 years now. and so medicare has -- original medicare has two parts. you have part a, which covers all your hospital expenses. and then you have part b, which covers expenses like going to the doctor, lab tests, also medical equipment. think of those things like outside the hospital just for a really quick breakdown. with medicare advantage plans, those plans, as i said, they're privately run plans by different
insurance companies and what those will -- they take the place of what medicare does, but then also maybe provide extra things. one thing i should note with medicare part b, a lot of times folks maybe get a medicare advantage plan, or maybe what's called a medigap plan, because with part b it only covers 80% of your costs. so, you're still left with that 20%. so, depending on what a cost is for a certain procedure, that can be very expensive. that's why people look for additional coverage. >> what are some of the common mistakes, common pitfalls people make when they are trying to sign up? >> so, some common things is not making sure -- again, just checking to make sure that your doctors, your specialists, they take that certain plan. so, if you change your plan and then you go to your doctor and you find out that they don't take that plan, then that could
be a big problem. certain medications. if you have, let's say, a chronic condition like diabetes or copd, taking a look at your medications and making sure that that plan that you're choosing, you know, that drug plan, that those medications are going to be affordable for you to have. those are some things to, you know, to certainly consider. >> what happens if you miss the deadline coming up, what happens if you sign up and then decide you change your mind, you don't want to do it? >> so if you miss the deadline, you're staying with the insurance you have. but let's say that you decide to change and you're unhappy with that, what happens is starting january 1st through february 14th, you have the option to go back to original medicare. that's if you had a medicare advantage plan, your aetna, blue cross, so forth. can you go back to original medicare at that point only. >> thank you so much for being with us. we appreciate it. >> thank you.
>> very good information. we have some more good information for you, so like i said, have that pen and pencil handy. we have some numbers for you to write down. if you are interested in getting some more information in pennsylvania, call apprise for free medicare counseling. 1-800-783-7067. again, that number is 1-800-783-7067. in new jersey you can call the state health assistance program, that is 1-800-792-8820. again, it's 1-800-792-8820. in delaware you can get help at elder info from 1-800-336-950. again, two numbers in delaware, 1-800-336-9500 or 302-674-7364. if you do want to get on the
web, you can check out nbc10.com. that's where we have posted all of this information. there is another deadline on the horizon. it's time to sign up for health care. we'll answer your questions about the affordable care act, including how to keep your premiums from overwhelming your wallet. that's next.
i told you there was another important deadline coming up. now is the time to sign up for medical insurance under the affordable care act. open enrollment runs from now through january 31st. with me is the pennsylvania state director for enroll america. thanks for being with us. >> good morning. thanks for having me. first things first, where do they stand? >> in pennsylvania the uninsured
rate has dropped six percentage points. that represents hundreds of thousands of folks who previously didn't have health coverage that are now ensured. it's great progress but there's a lot of work to be done. a lot of folks out there that don't have coverage. >> progress made on the website? >> the website is significantly -- not only does it work, but it's significantly easier to use than it has been in past years. between the first and second open enrollment periods, there were huge changes made. to take it from something like 70 pages that you had to go through to 10. >> we've been hearing through a lot of people over the past two years or so who say their premiums have gone up. in some cases 20%. why is that happening? how is that happening? >> there are certain plans where prices have increased. what's happened from year to year is existing plans, the priceses have changed. new plans have also come on the market, which has had lower price points. so what we encourage folks to do
who have signed up in maybe the first year and they're renewing and the second year and third year is not just to renew your existing plan but to go back into the marketplace and look at other options that are available. often find a plan that covers -- has a similar benefit for a lower price. >> over the past year, we've seen a lot of plans with medicaid in pennsylvania. talk to us about that. >> that has been a huge change. at last count 470,000 pennsylvanians have come into the new health choices medicaid expansion program. not all of those are folks who didn't have coverage and do now. many of them are. it's a huge contributor to, again, that reduction in the number of uninsured in pennsylvania. >> what about new jersey and delaware? >> there have been similar reductions. reductions of five percentage points in delaware and six percentage points in new jersey over the last two years. so, remarkable progress.
>> tell us about the new plans and who are they geared toward? who's the target here. >> i will say this, 50% of the remaining uninsured, who are eligible for the marketplace, are between the ages of 18 and 34. that's a big chunk of folks. the plans are, market, there are 15 issuers here in pennsylvania. the average is ten across the country. these plans are available at every price point to allow folks to find the plan that meets their budget, meets their needs in terms of medical benefits. and they're geared towards everybody. everybody who is currently uninsured should come into the marketplace and take advantage. >> the stat, 18 to 34-year-olds, this is who affordable care act was, for those in better health than older americans. >> yes. there has been somewhat of a challenge in bringing some of those folks in. they're called the young invincibles.
the idea is between ages 18 to 34, you think nothing can happen. there's been a lot of stories in the last couple of years of folks who have gotten ill. it's not even that. it's something as simple as going for a run and tripping and breaking your leg. you're talking about potentially tens if not hundreds of thousandings of dollars in million costs if you're uninsured. medical insurance isn't just about when you get sick. it's about when you get injured and managing that risk. >> one last thing, let's talk about penalties. i mean, that's part of the affordable care act as well. >> absolutely. so, for folks who choose not to get covered during the year 2016, when they go to pay their taxes after 2016, the fine they will face is at least $695. if you come into the marketplace and you take a look at your options, chances are your going to find a plan that is a better deal than the fine. >> thank you so much for being with us this morning. appreciate it. >> there is free help available. if you have any questions about the marketplaces in pennsylvania, just call the
have you noticed your wi-fi signal slowing down in the past week or so? it could be because of your holiday lights. communications experts say your christmas lights can cause electrical interference and interrupt signal strength. but it may be than just your holiday display. electrical interference can also come from lamps, microwaves, baby monitors and cordless telephones. that's it for this edition of nbc10 "@ issue." thanks for joining us. you can join me every weekend morning starting saturday at 5:00 a.m. i'm rosemary connors. have a goods sunday.
nbc sports. home of the 2016 rio olympicoly the nhl, the nascar chase for the cup. only on nbc. >> announcer: welcome to the honda nbc sportsdesk. hi again, everyone. jimmy roberts here. welcome to the start of a very busy day on nbc. coming up in just a few moments, the dew tour. a preview from breckenridge, colorado. but first a quick check on last night's college football conference championship games, and we start with undoubtedly the game of the night. a riveting contest for the big 10 title between fourth-ranked iowa, a