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Archive for the ‘Affordable Care Act’ Category

Thank You from HHS Secretary for Everyone’s Efforts with the ACA!

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Dear Colleague:

I’m writing to thank you for being a part of history.  Each of us at this Department – in our own way – impacts millions of lives, and for the better.  This week was one of the great reminders of what this impact means to a family as they sit at their kitchen table and plan for their future.

As you know, Open Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace came to a close on Sunday, and about 11.4 million Americans signed up or were re-enrolled in coverage (and there are thousands more who are still enrolling through this week).  Of course this is in addition to the millions of young adults who now have coverage through their parents’ health plans and the millions of people that are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP.

I want to invite you to reflect for a moment about what this means for the good, hardworking people that we serve; what it means for a mom or a dad to know that they can take their children to the doctor or finally afford to fill a prescription or no longer have to choose between paying tuition bills and paying for health coverage.

Think about what this means to a resilient American like Laura Gonzalez, who I met in Jacksonville.  She’s a 26-year old mother of two who is studying to be an ultrasound tech.  Her husband is a truck driver and he does not receive insurance through his work.  Thanks to the Marketplace, they’ve been able to get covered for only $41 a month.

People like Laura were helped in the last few months by assisters, call center employees and volunteers across the country – and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude, along with the state and local officials, Members of Congress, and others who worked so hard to help their constituents.

Helping people like Laura is what public service is all about.  For more than a century, our country has wrestled with the question of how to cover the uninsured.  You’ll be able to tell your children and grandchildren that you were a part of the answer.

Whether you work directly on implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or whether you’re part of one of the countless other efforts the people of our Department undertake day-after-day, your work has meaning, and I am grateful for your service.

Sincerely,

Sylvia M. Burwell

Teleconference Today—Interested in Leading the Regional Medical Library Program?

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) seeks candidates with experience in program coordination and health information policy for a Supervisory Librarian to lead our Regional Medical Library program.

If you are interested in this position, we strongly encourage you to attend our informational webinar on February 23, 2015 from 3 – 4 pm (ET).

Click here to register

The Head of the National Network Office (NNO) of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) serves as a national leader in developing collaborations among libraries in the Network.

The NNO Head is responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and advising on all aspects of biomedical information provision, for outreach to groups experiencing health disparities, and for the provision of access to medical information in emergency and disaster situations (national and international).  The Head also advises on public health information policy issues related to programs conducted throughout the Network.

NLM is in the process of transitioning our agreements with the Regional Medical Libraries from a contract funding mechanism to a grant cooperative agreement.  The Head will serve as Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of the organizations awarded these cooperative agreements.

As a supervisory librarian at the GS-15 level, the position has a salary range of $126,245-$158,700, and reports to the Associate Director for Library Operations, Joyce Backus.

NLM will begin accepting applications for this position in early March.  At that time, we will release a second announcement with a link to the actual application.

We hope that you will consider applying for this exciting leadership opportunity.

If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Toolkit: Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy

Monday, February 9th, 2015

[Press Release from Alliance for Health Reform]

Despite new private insurance coverage over the past year, many people do not understand the very terms and concepts necessary to make informed choices, according to recent studies. A new Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit, “Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy: Do Consumers Know What they are Buying?” addresses the extent and significance of both health literacy and health insurance literacy for Americans buying and using health insurance.

Highlights:

  • Nearly nine out of ten adults have difficulty using health information to make informed decisions about their health
  • Half of Americans don’t understand such basic health insurance terms as premium, deductible and copay
  • Thirty-seven percent of marketplace enrollees did not know their deductible, and 47 percent of those receiving subsidies did not know the amount of federal assistance they were getting.
  • The cost of low health literacy in the United States currently represents between 7 percent and 17 percent of all personal health care expenditures.

The Toolkit includes:

  • An overview of problems associated with health literacy as well as studies analyzing their impact.
  • Links to reports and news articles explaining and analyzing the issue
  • Contact information for leading experts on the issue

Contact: Marilyn Serafini mserafini@allhealth.org 202/789-2300

Produced with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Hospital & Academic Librarians: This ACA Symposium is for You!

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

The Affordable Care Act / Access to Care – Libraries Making a Difference

  • Do you know how ACA impacts reimbursements and your hospital’s budget?
  • Do you need help demystifying meaningful use, reimbursements, HCAHPS scores, and more?
  • Can you recognize/anticipate and support your hospital’s ACA-driven operational and service line changes?
  • Do you know how health literacy impacts the ACA?
  • Do you have an interest in developing partnerships for outreach and education?

When:             Friday, April 24, 2015 (Registration deadline:  April 10, 2015)

Where:            Sonesta Philadelphia, 1800 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA

Cost:                This symposium is funded by NN/LM MAR.  There is no registration fee.

NN/LM MAR network members are eligible to apply for reimbursement of travel expenses—apply early!  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/maracastipend

Details:           http://guides.nnlm.gov/mar_access2015/

Registrationhttp://guides.nnlm.gov/mar_access_register/

Hotel:              Sonesta Philadelphia / Special rate available using the name “MAR”

MLA CEs:         Attendance qualifies for MLA continuing education credits

Public Librarians: This ACA Symposium is for You!

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

The Affordable Care Act / Access to Care – Libraries Making a Difference

Do you want to increase your comfort level when helping library users access health insurance information and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

  • Do you understand how the Marketplace works?
  • Do you need help demystifying ACA terms such as “meaningful use”?
  • What everyday challenges do library users face when they enroll?
  • Are you concerned about the privacy and security of library users’ personal information?
  • Have you thought about partnerships for outreach, education, and health literacy?

When:             Friday, April 24, 2015 (Registration deadline:  April 10, 2015)

Where:            Sonesta Philadelphia, 1800 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA

Cost:                This symposium is funded by NN/LM MAR.  There is no registration fee.

NN/LM MAR network members are eligible to apply for reimbursement of travel expenses—apply early!  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/maracastipend

Details:           http://guides.nnlm.gov/mar_access2015/

Registrationhttp://guides.nnlm.gov/mar_access_register/

Hotel:              Sonesta Philadelphia / Special rate available using the name “MAR”

MLA CEs:         Attendance qualifies for continuing education credits from the Medical Library Association (MLA)

New Tools to Help Consumers during Tax Season

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Today, CMS released new tools to help consumers during the upcoming tax filing season.  The 2015 tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked for some basic information regarding their health insurance on their tax returns.  Specifically, CMS has made available two tools to help consumers fill out IRS Forms 8962 and 8965.  One tool helps consumers determine the amount of their 2014 Premium Tax Credit for Form 8962.  The second tool helps consumers determine whether or not they qualify for the exemption for coverage being unaffordable, for Form 8965.

While the vast majority of tax filers – over three quarters – will just need to check a box on their tax return indicating they had health coverage for all of 2014, people who purchased coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, or decided not to enroll in coverage, should be aware of the additional steps that will be a part of the tax filing process starting this year. Consumers will have questions about this new process and the Administration is committed to providing the information and tools tax filers need to understand the new requirements.

These tools can be accessed:   https://www.healthcare.gov/taxes/

In addition, CMS has posted a new fact sheet for consumers about health coverage and federal income taxes as well as specific information on different types of exemptions.

The fact sheet can be found here: http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/factsheets/2015/01/health-coverage-federal-income-taxes.html

HHS to Work with Non-Profit Organizations and Tax Preparers to Help Consumers Understand the Intersection of Taxes and Health Care

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

On January 28, 2015, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced that HHS is collaborating with a wide range of non-profit organizations and some of the nation’s largest tax preparers to ensure that the public understands how health care and their taxes intersect. These groups provide resources, advice, and assistance to tax filers across the country. Some are offering on-the-ground, in person support, while others are providing online tools and software to help guide people through the tax filing process. Last year, 91 percent of taxpayers relied on software to do their taxes. This year many tax preparers and organizations updated their online tools to reflect the new Affordable Care Act requirements with the goal of helping consumers easily complete a timely and accurate tax return. Consumers can learn more about free tax assistance and filing options – including assistance in their community – by visiting www.IRS.gov/freefile  or  www.IRS.gov/VITA. The press release can be found here.

What Assisters and Consumers Need to Know About the 2015 Tax Filing Process

The 2015 tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked for some basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns.  Consumers will have questions about this new process and the Administration is committed to providing the information and tools tax filers need to understand the new requirements.

Fact Sheets and Resources:

Resources for a Happy, Healthy 2015

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

Registration is now open for our January webinar: Pathways to Guide Health Education at Your Library
Monday, January 26th
2:00 PM Eastern/11:00 AM Pacific

Access to reliable consumer health information is an essential component of individual and community well-being. Because of their unique role and reputation for being open and available to all, public libraries bring valuable assets to supporting local community health efforts. In this WebJunction webinar, participants will explore essential pathways for libraries to address meaningful health information and services. Participants will be introduced to foundational considerations for ensuring ethics and privacy in patron interactions, maintaining health collections at the public library, addressing community health literacy, and supporting healthy communities through partnerships. Participants will also be introduced to resources to advance these topics in their community, and leave the session prepared to join the strong network of public libraries advancing health education nationwide.

Learn more and register here: http://webjunction.org/events/webjunction/pathways-guide-health-education.html

Open Enrollment is Underway

Individuals and families who wish to renew or apply for health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace are encouraged to act now. Key dates and related consumer deadlines have been posted at HealthCare.gov: https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/dates-and-deadlines/

Be sure to visit our web-guide on Libraries and the Health Insurance Marketplace to become familiar with activities and resources to address related patron needs in your community! http://webjunction.org/explore-topics/ehealth/aca-at-your-library.html

Opportunity Index

Public libraries and partners often look to local data to understand community needs and tailor support. The Opportunity Index “is an annual composite measure at the state and county levels of economic, educational, and civic factors that expand opportunities.”  Dimensions of community and civic health are included, among others. Check it out to learn more about key measures in your community! http://opportunityindex.org/about/

As always, we look forward to hearing about your experience and questions regarding community health education via email, or on Twitter using #libs4health.

New York Academy of Medicine’s Grey Literature Report

Friday, November 21st, 2014

The New York Academy of Medicine’s November Grey Literature Report in Public Health has been published today. There are 210 new records.

You can find it at: http://www.greylit.org/reports/current. The items are listed alphabetically by organization. If you would like to see the newest reports for 2014, click on the Date of Publication link.

This report’s main focus is on Smoking and the Affordable Care Act, with a secondary focus on the Ebola Virus with supplemental reports on health in Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

We look forward to any comments and questions you may have about the Grey Literature Report in Public Health. Please contact us: greylithelp@nyam.org.

We hope you will find the database useful!

The Grey Literature Team
The New York Academy of Medicine

If you like what we do please consider donating to keep the site going and to help us improve it.

Health Insurance Marketplace Offers Tool to Help Consumers Review Their Plan Options for 2015

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Beginning this week, consumers can visit HealthCare.gov to review detailed information about each health insurance plan offered in their area before applying ahead of open enrollment, which starts November 15, according to an announcement made today by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.  With more issuers offering coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace this year, the majority of consumers will find more affordable options for themselves and their families. By answering a few simple questions, such as location and family size, consumers will be able to compare plans and get an estimate on how much financial assistance they may qualify for when shopping for coverage, without needing to submit an application.

“Consumers can prepare for open enrollment by visiting HealthCare.gov and using the window shopping feature to see what plans will be available in their area,” said Administrator Tavenner. “Using this tool, consumers can compare plans, covered benefits, and physician and hospital networks before the Marketplace annual open enrollment period starts on November 15. New features will give consumers a comprehensive picture of the plans in their area so they can choose the one that’s right for them.”

CMS is working to improve the consumer experience by making the shopping experience easier. Last year, a consumer had to answer nine questions before being able to view their plan options, this year a consumer can start looking at plans after entering just their zip code. Consumers can answer a few simple questions relevant to them to get an estimate on how much financial assistance they may qualify for when shopping for coverage. The window shopping tool has also been optimized for access through a smart phone or tablet. Consumers can also review their options at a more convenient time by emailing or sharing a link to a plan’s information. Premium estimates are more accurate due to more robust data in HealthCare.gov, such as rates adjusted for tobacco use, which are being included in the estimates provided by the tool.

Window shopping remains the single most popular section on HealthCare.gov and regularly has three times the amount of traffic than any other page on the Marketplace website. CMS has improved the scalability and performance of the tool for high volumes of traffic. Additionally, the site has gone through usability and mobile testing that has been key in improving the website’s features.

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins Nov. 15, 2014, and runs through Feb. 15, 2015. Consumers should visit HealthCare.gov to review and compare health plan options and find out if they are eligible for financial assistance, which can help pay monthly premiums and reduce out-of-pocket costs when receiving services. All consumers shopping for health insurance coverage for 2015— even those who currently have coverage through the Marketplace — should enroll or re-enroll between November 15 and December 15 in order to have coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2015.

Consumers can find local help at: Localhelp.healthcare.gov or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855- 889-4325. Translation services are available. The call is free.

To preview plans in your area this week, visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/

For more information about Health Insurance Marketplaces, visit: www.healthcare.gov/marketplace