Archive for the ‘Affordable Care Act’ Category
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.
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.
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!
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.
Dylan Roby, Ph.D., Director of the health economics and evaluation research program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, and an assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, is quoted widely by the media regarding various aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Coverage included October 30 on the PBS program SoCal Insider and November 14 on KNX 1070AM about enrollment in new insurance plans; November 17 in Kaiser Health News about misinformation sent to California’s low-income residents regarding Medi-Cal; November 15 in the Orange County Register about whether California will go along with President Obama’s suggested “fix” for people whose policies were cancelled; November 17 in the Los Angeles Times about California’s healthcare exchange; November 18 in California Healthline.com about how the state’s various counties must adapt to the ACA; and a November 18 WebMD article about the renewal of private health insurance policies initially canceled.
WebJunction has announced an updated Health Happens in Libraries area of their website. Please visit the project page and spread the word about the updated Resources section, where you will find:
- Resources produced as part of WebJunction’s work to support libraries in their efforts to provide eHealth services to their communities
- Official Affordable Care Act (ACA) resources for all states
- Examples of resources created by libraries to respond to patron ACA and eHealth inquiries
Health information support happens in libraries every day, and you are encouraged to submit stories or perspectives to share your library’s role in supporting community health and wellness by contacting email@example.com. Here are a few questions to address:
- What programs or resources does your library provide to support health and wellness in your community? How do patrons and/or community partners benefit from these services?
- In what ways has your library been involved in supporting patrons with ACA application and enrollment activities? What are you learning from responding to this new information need?
Share your experiences with colleagues in the field!
NN/LM PSR Consumer Health & Technology Coordinator Kelli Ham attended an event hosted by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) on October 15, 2013, for stakeholders involved with the Affordable Care Act. The four-hour session was titled A New Era of Coverage: Maximizing Participation in the ACA and was held at the California Endowment in Los Angeles. Attendees included county agencies, certified enrollment counselors, outreach and education grantee organizations, health plans, and insurance companies.
The session was well worth attending! I was able to hear first-hand about ‘boots on the ground’ efforts to educate California residents about the new health insurance law and to help them sign up for accounts, learn about their options, and enroll in a health insurance plan. In addition, we all participated in a group activity in the afternoon which was a very productive exercise; groups responded to questions and brainstormed ideas for outreach to “hard-to-reach” communities, such as immigrants, limited-English proficient, homeless/re-entry populations, and low wage/part-time workers. Groups discussed the barriers and strategies for reaching the population and enrolling them in health coverage. Potential partner organizations and agencies were also identified.
The results of this activity were enlightening; while each group suggested standard approaches, many ideas were proposed that would work well for outreach from the NN/LM standpoint. For instance, our group chose ‘Young Immigrants’ as our target population. Some of the barriers identified for this group were the distrust of government agencies, immigration status and fear of deportation, lack of perceived need for health insurance (young invincibles), and language difficulties. Strategies for reaching this population included the use of social media, mobile apps, tables at street fairs, outreach at clubs, ads on public transportation (bus, Metro), adult schools, and ESL classes. Word of mouth is also powerful, so recruiting young people from this group is another strategy. Possible partnering organizations would be non-profits that deal with undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children, other legal organizations, local clinics, and Planned Parenthood, to name a few.
Since the Covered California website had only been up and running for a few weeks, few statistics were available. According to one of the presenters, the website had over 987,000 unique visits during the first week. Combining telephone contacts and the web site, there were over 43,000 applications and over 16,000 household applications were completed. More statistics will be released in the near future.
Anyone who is interested in attending local workshops or presentations can see announcements on the Covered California Twitter feed, @coveredca, or view news and upcoming events at the Covered California News Center page. Libraries might be interested in hosting a program with outreach and education counselors; the best way to find local grantee organizations is to download the updated PDF file Outreach and Education Grant Program Award Recipients, dated August 20, 2013. Also, library patrons might be interested in applying by phone rather than the website. According to Covered California, it takes less than an hour to enroll in a Covered California health plan by phone. Service centers are open weekdays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. – 6 p.m, available at 800-300-1506.
WebJunction recently updated its website to help library staff connect patrons to available resources and community experts that can provide assistance:
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has soft launched LocalHelp.healthcare.gov, where individuals or organizations can enter their geographic location to identify local ACA consumer assistance destinations in their area. Local consumer assisters, including Navigators, Certified Application counselors, etc., can provide personal help in applying for healthcare coverage through the ACA. This resource is also available in Spanish. CMS has also made English and Spanish widgets available for those that may be interested in hosting this resource as a widget on their website.
- Please be advised that, according to CMS, many consumer assistance organizations are still completing the training and certification process. The database will be regularly updated to add new locations as they become available, so check back frequently. Please also note that states operating independent health insurance marketplaces may have more details about customer support networks at their state’s individual marketplace site. Unsure what type of marketplace is operating in your state? Visit the Get State Information page on HealthCare.gov to determine your state’s approach and access the most relevant source for local marketplace information.
Printed Publications and Forms
- If your state is participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has an online ordering system for print materials. Libraries are welcome to request these print materials from CMS, however, it is important to note that quantities are limited and stock is constantly changing. You will need to create an account to be able to view and order materials. Once you have an account, search on the keyword “marketplace” to see the available publications.
- In the near future, CMS expects to add an option to order and/or download print versions of the Federal Application form (not available until open enrollment begins on October 1). While print forms will be an option, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online because they will see real-time eligibility and available health insurance options.
To take advantage of the new, online Health Insurance Marketplace, millions of uninsured Americans need to know about it and sign up. Help is needed from the public and private sectors to let people know about these new benefits and get them enrolled. Starting in October 2013, Americans who don’t have insurance can choose from quality, affordable health insurance plans in the Marketplace for coverage that begins in 2014. A growing number of national and state/local organizations have joined the ranks of “Champions for Coverage” and are assisting in the effort to make sure all Americans can get the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford.
Ways your organization can be a Champion for Coverage
- Send your partners/members/customers to the official consumer sources to learn about the Marketplace and get coverage:
- Send an email to your network about the Marketplace.
- Post the HealthCare.gov and/or CuidadoDeSalud.gov widget on your website.
- Hang posters and/or give out fact sheets and brochures about the Marketplace.
- Host a conference call, webinar, or another educational event about the Marketplace.
- Include a story about the Marketplace in your organizational newsletter or other publication.
- Record and send out a public service announcement about the Marketplace.
- Have your staff/members learn about the Marketplace in educational sessions.
- Connect with your partners/members/customers through official Marketplace social media channels to share their stories:
- Provide space for enrollment sessions or fairs (ideally, with computers so people can check out the Marketplace online).
How can my organization become a “Champion for Coverage?
First, take action – post the Marketplace widget, send an email message, or more. If you’re interested in being publically recognized as an official “Champion for Coverage,” fill out the online form. You will be contacted for additional follow-up. If you have questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University recently posted on its website two new resource briefs to help answer questions from professionals and families about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Resources for Professionals directs readers to a selection of resources about the ACA and its major provisions, policy developments, and implementation efforts. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Resources for Families provides information about the ACA and how it will affect families in each state. The resource briefs were developed by the University of Miami Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND), the University of South Florida College of Public Health MCH Leadership Training Program, the University of Florida Pediatric Pulmonary Center (PPC) Leadership Training Program, and the MCH Library at Georgetown University, all of which are funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).