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Presidential Election Campaign Fund Pays for Medical Research Too

A funny thing happened when Ken E. was filing his taxes using H&R Block software. When he got to the screen asking if he would like to give $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, he clicked the “learn more” link and got an unexpected explanation in the fine print.


Election finance

Say what?

Apparently in 2014, Congress decided to no longer allow political parties to use taxpayer money from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund to finance their party conventions. Instead, it redirected that money to the “10-Year Pediatric Research Initiative Fund” designed to fund projects related to childhood diseases. The law was named after Gabriella Miller, who, while battling a rare form of brain cancer herself, helped raise money to fund pediatric cancer research. She died at age 10.

Our consumer said, “Even in my wildest dreams I would not have connected giving to the campaign fund to mean that I am donating to pediatric medical research.”

For once, the fine print revealed a great positive surprise.

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Don’t Let the Pill Bottle Quantity Fool You

When you see the number of pills in a bottle, along with the strength, you reasonably assume that is what will be inside. So a bottle of 100 aspirin that says 325 milligrams should be just that.

Last year we showed you examples of calcium supplements that didn’t meet that expectation. Now we turn to a similar issue with with these CVS melatonin gummies.

CVS Melatonin Gummies

Here the label clearly says there are 60 gummies in the bottle and it notes the strength as 10 mg. in two places on the front label.


CVS back of label

The dosing instructions on the back say you have to take two gummies in order to get the 10 mg. promised on the front of the label. So in essence, if you thought this bottle would last you two months, it will only be good for one month.

Another CVS melatonin gummy product makes a slightly different representation on the front saying this product is 10 mg. per serving. While a slight improvement, shoppers still could be easily misled.

10 mg per serving

What do you think… shouldn’t the strength of the medication displayed on the front of the bottle be what you get in each pill, capsule, or gummy inside?

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Beware Health Insurance Plan Changes

Note to Readers: Although this story revolves around changes to particular Medicare health insurance plans, the lesson it offers is universal. During open enrollment, don’t just automatically renew your old plan. Look for changes your insurer is implementing in the coming year in the Annual Notice of Changes and see if a different plan may better suit your needs.

Here’s an example of a nasty change by Arkansas BlueMedicare. Their Premier Choice advantage plan used to provide free diagnostic colonoscopies, but for 2024 they added a $275 copay.


Arkansas BlueMedicare

A very popular Medicare Part D drug plan is Wellcare Value Script (PDP). This is optional coverage for those with original Medicare whether or not you also have a supplement (medigap) plan. (Original Medicare does not cover drugs so many seniors buy a separate drug plan called Part D.)

A reason it is so popular is that it tends to be the cheapest plan in some states. For 2024, for example, in Massachusetts, Maine and perhaps elsewhere, the monthly premium is only 50 cents! In some other states it is zero!

It does have the maximum allowable deductible — $545 — but beneficially it does not apply to tier 1 or 2 drugs. Tier 1 has no copays, and tier 2 is only $5 or $15 for 30 or 90 days, respectively. But there is a big change for tier 3 drugs.


Wellcare Value Script

For 2023, there was a flat $47 or $44 copay for tier 3 drugs. That means whatever the full cost, you only had to pay forty-something dollars.

But, for 2024, that changes to co-insurance. To MrConsumer, “co-insurance” is a dirty word. It is cost-sharing between you and your insurance company. They pay part of a particular bill, and you pay a certain percentage of it. For 2024, you will pay 25-percent of the full cost of drugs in the Wellcare plan for that tier. If it is an expensive drug, you could get soaked. If it is a cheap drug, you could save compared to 2023. Note that some other copays are lower for 2024 on this Wellcare plan.

Now it’s time for you to fess up.

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The bottom line is EVERY YEAR you really need to check and compare the features and costs of your current plan with what various of next year’s plans offer. This goes for regular insurance plans and any of your Medicare plans — Advantage, Supplement, or Part D (drugs). Remember to also check the drug formulary for changes to what drugs are covered, in which tier they reside, and what any restrictions are.