Is the new Novo Nordisk “improved” insulin worth a 60-70% price hike? The market says ‘no.’

My clients regularly ask why brand name medications are so expensive. This great article by WSJ reporter Denise Roland helps explain the game. “In traditional marketing, a product line extension is the use of an established brand name for a new item with new flavors, forms, colors, added ingredients, package sizes.” Novo Nordisk repackaged its long lasting insulin with some tweaks and expected a 60-70% price increase over the previous product. Crazy, huh? The German (single payer) pricing board said as this product extension offers no real advantage in controlling diabetes there is no justification for a price difference. Other European national health plans acted in kind. However, once our FDA approves the product for safety it may be rolled out at the boosted price level which Medicare cannot negotiate. It’s the law.
Click this link to the Wall Street Link to WSJ Article 

Family Caregivers Kit: 9 Free Publications

helpManage a loved one’s finances and health care with knowledge and confidence.

The Family Caregivers Kit is a collection of publications that help you understand your duties as an agent under a power of attorney, keep track of medications, protect your loved ones from scams, and more.



( Download Adobe Reader to view these publications.)
  1. Consumer Action Handbook  Family Caregivers Kit -1
  2. Health Scams Family Caregivers Kit -2
  3. Money Smart for Older Adults: Financial Exploitation  Family Caregivers Kit -3
  4. Managing Someone Else’s Money: Fiduciary   Family Caregivers Kit -4
  5. Managing Someone Else’s Money: Court Appointed Guardians Family Caregivers Kit -5
  6. Managing Someone Else’s Money: Representative / VA Fiduciary Family Caregivers Kit -6
  7. Managing Someone Else’s Money: Trustees / Revocable Living Trust Family Caregivers Kit -7
  8. My Medicines  Family Caregivers Kit -8
  9. Use Medicines Wisely  Family Caregivers Kit -9

 As an independent licensed Life, Accident and Health Insurance professional, I represent several insurance companies authorized to conduct business in New York.  For more information about how affordable insurance can protect your assets and provide you greater control over your financial planning, please contact me at (518) 346-2115 for a confidential and complimentary consultation.

"This service is provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 
Food and Drug Administration's Office of Women's Health and the 
Federal Citizen Information Center at the General Services Administration."

NY State EPIC Drug Plan for Seniors

drug-costsEPIC, (Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage) is a New York State program for seniors administered by the Department of Health. It helps eligible seniors supplement their out-of-pocket Medicare Part D drug plan costs.  Eligibility requirements are:

  • Resident of New York State
  • Age 65 or older
  • Income up to $75,000 (single) or $100,000 if married.

EPIC offers two plans, based on your income:

  • Fee Plan for members with income up to $20,000 if single or $26,000 if married.
  • Deductible Plan members with incomes ranging from $20,001 to $75,000 (single) or $26,001 to 100,000 (married.)   Download EPIC Application Here

EPIC members are required to be enrolled in a Medicare Part D drug plan or a Medicare Advantage health plan which includes Part D. Enrolling in EPIC will give a member a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to join a Medicare Part D drug plan. Medicare Part D provides primary drug coverage for EPIC members. After a Part D deductible is met, if applicable, EPIC provides secondary coverage for approved Part D and EPIC covered drugs. EPIC also covers approved Part D-excluded drugs such as prescription vitamins as well as cough and cold preparations after enrolling in a Part D drug plan.


You or someone you know may now be eligible for EPIC help.  Download the EPIC Application and call me at (518) 346-2115 for assistance with submitting your request.


Minimum payment and credit scores

Once upon a time, a person’s credit rating was based on whether or not he or she paid their monthly obligations “as agreed.”  The loan officer would call the local credit bureau office , yes by telephone, and inquire as to how Mr. or Mrs. Applicant was handling their credit.  The credit bureau clerk would reply with updates provided by local and regional lenders with numerical ratings such as “Sears reports R1 and  Ford Motor Credit I1 ” That was simple. As time passed, the Fair Isaac Company (FICO) introduced a formula that provided a numerical score of whether the applicant would honor their future credit obligations.   At the time this was controversial as individuals who had never missed a payment were being declined for having a lower than average score. The scoring was based on a number of other factors including many recent inquires, a high percentage  drawdown of approved credit lines and a heavy revolving debt compared to installment and residential mortgage.

Prepare for yet another twist. new Soon, your credit report will include 24 months of detail on the minimum payment required for each account, and this is the new part,  the amount actually paid on each account.  As a result, individuals who pay their monthly balance in full will be rated higher.  Those who pay only the minimum required payment will not be rated as high as those who pay a greater amount. Sometimes it makes sense to use a retailer’s revolving credit feature.  For example, a retailer may offer a six month interest free financing plan.  (Pay the purchase price in full within six months interest free! )  It’s unlikely such a single retailer account will, by itself, affect your credit score, be aware that the new formula rewards pay-in-full over minimum-payment consumers  

red_arrow What to do?

  1. Always make your monthly payments on or before the due date.
  2. Where possible pay revolving account balances in full.
  3. If you cannot or choose not to pay the revolving accounts in full, make payment amounts greater than the minimum amount required.

smart_tip And remember, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies — EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.   Order your three credit reports online through Annual Credit Report. Carefully review each reporting to be sure what is being reported actually belongs to you and the amounts are accurate.  If you notice an error appearing on each of the three reports, you must dispute that error separately with each consumer reporting company, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each will present your dispute to the creditor and will respond to your complaint. If the creditor, however, disagrees with your dispute you may need to file the complaint with the federal Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.