Skip all navigation and go to page content
NN/LM Home About PSR | Contact PSR | Feedback | Help | Bookmark and Share

Archive for the ‘Affordable Care Act’ Category

AHRQ Report Shows Gains in Access to and Affordability of Health Insurance

More people have health care coverage, have a usual place to go for medical care and can more easily afford medical bills after the Affordable Care Act’s provisions have taken effect, according to a new report released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), 2015 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report and 5th Anniversary Update on the National Quality Strategy. The report finds that the rate of uninsured Americans under age 65 decreased from 18% to 10%. For 18- to 29-year-olds, the uninsured rate declined even further, falling by more than half, from 31% to 15%. Among poor people ages 18-64, the uninsured rate fell from 44% to 25%. Substantial gains in health care coverage also were found for Hispanic and black adults ages 18-64. The cost of health care coverage also became more affordable as fewer people overall reported having trouble paying medical bills within the past year. Poor people (below the federal poverty level) ages 18-64 saw the greatest benefit, and all racial and ethnic groups showed a decline in payment problems during this period.

The report features annual trends on more than 250 measures of care quality, access and disparities that cover a broad array of health care services and settings. Overall, the report shows that quality of care is improving, particularly in hospitals, and for measures that are being publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. However, quality of care is still less than optimal overall for many Americans. Disparities related to race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status continue to impact the care that many people receive. For example, the quality of care for blacks, Hispanics and American Indians and Alaska Natives was worse than that for whites for about 40% of the report’s measures.

USCIS Updates Welcome Guide for New Immigrants

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published an updated Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants booklet. The guide contains practical information to help new immigrants settle into everyday life in the United States, including how to find a place to live, how to get a Social Security number and how the U.S. system of government works. Available in 14 languages (English, Arabic, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, Vietnamese), this publication has recently been updated to include:

  • Revised and updated general information on policies, programs and resources;
  • A refreshed layout and design;
  • A new chapter called “Taking Care of Your Money” on personal finance, taxes and financial scams; and
  • A new chapter called “Understanding Education and Health Care” on the education system, adult education programs and the health insurance marketplace.

You can download free copies in 14 languages on the USCIS website and purchase printed copies in English, Spanish and Chinese through the U.S. Government Bookstore.

Webinar on December 17: Affordable Care Act Messaging for American Indians and Alaska Natives

The Affordable Care Act offers many opportunities to American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) who lack health insurance coverage. The National Indian Health Board, American Indian Health & Family Services, and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium have many lessons learned to share from their past outreach and enrollment efforts related to enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. This webinar will provide tribes and tribal organizations with effective messaging strategies and outreach practices for AI/ANs that encourage enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Moderator: Lillian Zuniga, Member, Cross-RHEC AI/AN Caucus

Speakers:

Dawn Coley, Director of Tribal Health Care Reform Outreach and Education, National Indian Health Board
Ashley Tuomi, DHSc, Executive Director, American Indian Health and Family Services
Charlene Walker, Director, Outreach and Enrollment, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Date: December 17, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PST
Registration Link 
Full Abstract and Speaker Bios

The Cross-RHEC American Indian and Alaska Native Caucus is a group of Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC) members under the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA). The Caucus provides a forum for RHEC members to increase dialogue across RHECs and to coordinate and enhance tribal, state and local efforts to address health disparities and the social determinants of health for AI/ANs.

CMS Announces $67 Million in Grant Funding to Support Affordable Care Act Outreach

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded $67 million in three-year Marketplace Navigator grant funding to assist consumers in signing up for Affordable Care Act coverage in 2016. With Marketplace Open Enrollment set to begin on November 1, 2015, the grant awards will support outreach efforts designed to connect people with local help as they enroll in a health plan that fits their budget and best meets their family’s needs, and seek to understand the coverage options and financial assistance available at HealthCare.gov. Awards were made to 100 organizations located in 34 states that operate Federally Facilitated Marketplaces, State Partnership Marketplaces, and supported State-Based Marketplaces.

Navigators and assisters are trained specialists who provide consumers in their communities with in-person help, answering their questions about their health insurance and financial assistance options and assisting them as they complete their application. Navigators and assisters are knowledgeable about the range of health plans available on HealthCare.gov as well as other public health insurance programs offered in their state, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In addition to Navigators, Marketplaces make other resources available to consumers to help them access Marketplace coverage, such as certified application counselors, non-navigator assistance personnel (also known as in-person assisters), and agents and brokers. A list of HHS Navigator awardees, as well as more information about Navigators and other Marketplace resources is available by visiting the CMS web site.

NN/LM Greater Midwest Region CE Symposium: Re-Forming Health Care

The NN/LM Greater Midwest Region has announced the availability of the recorded archive for the half-day symposium Re-forming Health Care: Changes that Impact Patients, Health Systems, and Librarians, held on March 12, 2015, in Chicago. Presentation slides from three speakers are available on the following topics: “Transitions in Health Care Delivery: Patient Communication in the New Era;” “The Affordable Care Act and the Need for Information;” and “Improving the Quality, Safety, and Cost-Effectiveness of Patient Care through Evidence-Based Practice at the Organizational Level.” Anyone who registers on the web site is eligible to receive 4 hours of MLA CE credit for listening to the three-hour program.

Registration Available for Health Literacy Conference in Irvine May 6-8

Only 1 in 10 U.S. adults are considered proficient in health literacy, or the ability to understand and use the healthcare system. Attend the Annual Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) Health Literacy Conference, May 6-8, at the Hotel Irvine, near Orange County airport, and learn ways in which you can ensure your clients understand and have good health literacy. Register by the early bird deadline of April 10 and use Discount Code NNLM15 to save $20 off your conference tuition. Registration includes breakfast and lunch on Thursday and Friday, May 7-8, up to 21 continuing education credits, lunch on Wednesday, May 6, and more. Special preconference sessions on Wednesday include train-the-trainer sessions for health insurance enrollers to learn OERU best practices (Outreach, Enrollment, Retention and Utilization) and a consumer-facing curriculum on “Your Health Insurance – How It Works and How to Use It.”

New Toolkit on Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy!

According to recent studies, and despite new private insurance coverage over the past year, many people do not understand the very terms and concepts necessary to make informed choices. 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.

A few highlights from the Toolkit:

  • 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% 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% and 17% of all personal health care expenditures.

Contents of the Toolkit include:

  • 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.

New ACA Materials Available in Spanish!

From Coverage to Care (C2C) is an initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designed to help people with new health coverage understand their benefits and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them. C2C resources, available in both English and Spanish, are now available to download and print.

Available resources include:

  • A Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You (Una Guía para Un Mejor Cuidado y Una Vida Más Saludable) that includes 8 steps to explain what health coverage is, and how to use it to get needed care.
  • Consumer tools including a sample insurance card and a sample explanation of benefits.
  • An 11-part video series that helps explain the information covered in the Roadmap.

To learn when new resources become available, sign up for notifications through the Minority Health listserv. From Coverage to Care materials are also available through the order page.

MLA Theater Presentations Available!

The NLM theater presentation recordings are available from the NLM Web site and have been announced in the NLM Technical Bulletin. The Technical Bulletin article lists the topics. Besides the usual PubMed Update, there are The ACA, Hospital Community Benefit and Needs Assessment: NLM Resources and NLM Resources Used in Disasters. The recordings are also available from the NLM Distance Education Resources page.

Lori Tagawa and Kay Deeney were available for the Using the ClinicalTrials.gov Results Database presentation because the speaker hadn’t been able to attend MLA. We answered questions from the audience!

Upcoming ACA Events and New Resources!

Registration is still open for the WebJunction Health Happens in Libraries: Health Information Resources for Library Staff webinar. Alan Carr and Kelli Ham of the NN/LM Pacific Southwest Region will discuss their collaborative efforts with public libraries regarding the Affordable Care Act and other popular health information topics. They will be joined by Milly C. Lugo-Rios from Santa Ana Public Library, and together share strategies for strengthening your own library’s health information services, to improve the health literacy of your community. The webinar will be held on January 22, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM PST.

The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is continuing their Google+ Hangout Series on the Health Insurance Marketplace in Chinese (Mandarin). Almost one in seven Chinese Americans lacks health insurance and Chinese Americans are also among the highest limited English proficient populations in the nation. During the Hangout, there will be a live question and answer period with Mandarin-speaking representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They will respond to questions and provide information on how to obtain health care coverage through the new Marketplace. The Chinese language Hangout will take place on January 23, 2014 from 12:00 – 1:00 PM PST.

Tribalhealthcare.org provides consumer education materials and training tools for community representatives, to support American Indians and Alaska Natives in understanding their rights and opportunities associated with health care reform. The archived webinar of Health Insurance Marketplace for American Indians and Alaska Natives provides basic information to Tribal Leaders, Tribal Health staff, and Urban Indian Clinic staff about the new insurance options available to individuals and families through the Health Insurance Marketplace, including the special provisions and unique opportunities for American Indians.

The Kaiser Family Foundation continues to develop robust resources related to health care reform. Their comprehensive list of frequently asked questions may be useful to library staff and patrons alike, and includes a search feature. The For Consumers section contains information useful for patrons, including a series of one-page papers explaining how the Affordable Care Act will affect different groups of people.

For the latest ACA news, training events, and resources for librarians, keep an eye on the NN/LM PSR ACA LibGuide! Updated regularly, it contains both national and state-specific information on ACA resources.