Californians can now see specific rates from competing health plans on a new state-run insurance market set to open October 1. Covered California, the new state marketplace, recently launched an online feature enabling consumers to get detailed price comparisons for their area for the first time. Previously, the state’s online calculator gave general estimates of statewide premiums without any comparison of different plans and prices. Starting in January, health insurance premiums will be based on a person’s age and location. Separately, federal subsidies are available to help pay premiums based on household income and size under the Affordable Care Act. Insurers on the state exchange will sell four different levels of coverage labeled as Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Bronze is the lowest cost option because it offers the least amount of insurance coverage toward a person’s medical bills. Coverage increases from there up to the most expensive Platinum plans. Individuals earning less than $46,000 a year and families below $94,000 annually may qualify for subsidies. In California, individuals earning less than $16,000 can get coverage through an expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program for the poor.
Archive for the ‘Non-NLM Resources’ Category
The Toxies is a multi-media campaign to keep communities safe from toxic chemicals and pollutants. The campaign, produced by the statewide coalition Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE), and led by Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA), works with groups across the country to bring toxic chemicals to life with a Hollywood spin. They are launching a new webisode series called The Toxies: Exposed. Through seven short videos, follow a daring investigative journalist as he chases down toxic chemicals and pollutants, to raise awareness about toxics in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.
The Toxies is a project to highlight the real life battle to retire dangerous chemicals and pollutants and protect our health. The videos feature Bisphenol-A, Chloropicrin, Flame Retardants, Fracking Chemical Cocktail, Lead, Mercury, and Yellow Soap. Last year, actor D.W. Moffett hosted the event at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles, and wrote in the Huffington Post how he and his wife Kristal “learned about the ubiquitous toxic exposures in our daily lives and our country’s broken regulatory system that does not adequately protect us.”
There was a worldwide premiere of these webisodes and discussion on August 15th at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles. Following the screening, a discussion was held with scientists, advocates, and community members. Afterwards, all seven webisodes were posted online, along with accompanying fact sheets, links to take action, discussion guide, and trivia game, so you can host a “screening” and discussion for your organization. All videos are available in English and Spanish. Online and print materials will also be available in Spanish. Explore the Toxies website for more information!
On Sunday, June 30, during the American Library Association annual conference, an announcement will be made which will mark the beginning of recruitment of the nation’s librarians to help people sign up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be part of the effort to get information and crucial computer time to the millions of uninsured Americans who need to get coverage under the law. The initiative starts October 1, when people without health coverage will start shopping for insurance online on new websites where they can get tax credits to help pay the cost. About 7 million people are expected to sign up for coverage in the new marketplaces next year, but the heavy emphasis on the Web-based portals puts anyone without access to a computer at a disadvantage. According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), libraries already provide health information to 28 million people each year via public access computers. Many libraries also have public spaces where meetings can be held.
Since librarians are likely to get questions on the health law from the public, the IMLS is contracting with the Online Computer Library Center to develop an online toolkit and training webinars for librarians. Libraries will be particularly important in conservative states that aren’t making much effort to promote the health law’s opportunities. They may choose to link to HealthCare.gov, the revamped federal website that is the hub for health law information, or to embed the widget on their websites. Some libraries may decide to set aside some public computers for people seeking health insurance or extend time limits on computers. Some may work with community health centers on educational events. The degree of participation will be determined locally with each library.
Today the Obama administration kicked off the Health Insurance Marketplace education effort with a new, consumer-focused HealthCare.gov website, and the 24-hours-a-day consumer call center, to help Americans prepare for open enrollment and ultimately sign up for private health insurance. The new tools will help Americans understand their choices and select the coverage that best suits their needs when open enrollment in the new Health Insurance Marketplace begins October 1. HealthCare.gov is the destination for the Health Insurance Marketplace, where Americans may now access new educational information and learn what they can do to begin to get ready for open enrollment this fall. The website will add functionality over the summer so that, by October, consumers will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans. For Spanish speaking consumers, CuidadoDeSalud.gov will also be updated to match HealthCare.gov’s new consumer focus.
Key features of the website, based on consumer research and online commercial best practices, include integration of social media, sharable content, and engagement destinations for consumers to get more information. The site will also include web chat functionality to support additional consumer inquiries. The website is built with a responsive design, so that consumers may access it from their desktops, smart-phones, and other mobile devices. In addition, the website is available via an application interface .
Between now and the start of open enrollment, the Marketplace call center will provide educational information and, beginning Oct. 1, 2013, will assist consumers with application completion and plan selection. In addition to English and Spanish, the call center provides assistance in more than 150 languages through an interpretation and translation service. Customer service representatives are available for assistance via a toll-free number at 1-800-318-2596 and hearing impaired callers using TTY/TDD technology can dial 1-855-889-4325 for assistance. HHS is on target for open enrollment in the Marketplace, which begins Oct. 1, 2013, and other key milestones approaching in the months ahead. Coverage will begin Jan. 1, 2014.
The CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis and Hep B United have launched Know Hepatitis B, a national communications campaign promoting Hepatitis B testing among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). This multilingual campaign has materials in English, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese, and messages will be delivered through a variety of multimedia channels. Community-level outreach, in partnership with Hep B United and its local affiliates, will also incorporate campaign messages and materials that facilitate education and communication about Hepatitis B among healthcare providers, local partners, and patients.
Though AAPIs make up less than 5% of the U.S. population, they account for more than 50% of the 1.2 million Americans estimated to be living with hepatitis B. Testing identifies people living with hepatitis B and helps them take steps to protect their health, including starting treatment that can delay or reverse the effects of liver damage. An estimated 1 in 12 AAPIs is living with hepatitis B, yet as many as 2 out of 3 people do not know they are infected. Many people can live with the disease and not feel sick or have any symptoms.
Know Hepatitis B seeks to increase awareness about this silent epidemic and encourage people who may be chronically infected with hepatitis B to get tested, so they can take care of themselves and protect their families. For additional information in multiple languages on Hepatitis B, please visit MedlinePlus.
The National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP) Diabetes and Healthy Eyes Toolkit provides community health workers with tools to inform people with diabetes about diabetic eye disease and maintaining healthy vision. The toolkit has a flipchart that is easy to use in community settings and can be incorporated into existing diabetes classes or information sessions. It provides all the materials and tools necessary to inform people how diabetes affects the eyes, the importance of comprehensive dilated eye exams, and how people can protect their sight from diabetic eye disease. It is available in English and Spanish.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced the launch of MentalHealth.gov as an online resource for people looking for information about mental health. This website provides information about the signs of mental illness, how individuals can seek help, and how communities can host conversations about mental health. The website also features videos from a number of individuals sharing their stories about mental illness, recovery, and hope.
Also, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) will release a Toolkit for Community Conversations About Mental Health, to support communities interested in holding discussions about mental health using consistent information and approaches. The Toolkit has three parts: an “Information Brief,” a “Discussion Guide” and an “Organizing Guide.” These components will help communities and individuals start a conversation about mental health, and help identify innovative and creative actions to meet the mental health needs of the nation. Currently, the “Information Brief” section is available for printing and downloading. The other two sections will be available soon.
These resources make it possible to work collaboratively to provide youth and adults accurate information about the prevention and treatment of mental health conditions, coupled with open spaces to tell their stories, ask for help, share their successes, and support one another. These conversations also serve as a venue to highlight the importance of recovery, support those in recovery, and offer opportunities for everyone to see that recovery is possible.
NIH News in Health is a monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) plays a major role in finding better ways to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases. The practical health information in NIH News in Health is reviewed by NIH’s medical experts and based on research conducted either by NIH’s own scientists, or by grantees at universities and medical schools around the country. This issue features:
- Childhood Cancer: Coping With the Diagnosis
- How To Whip Whooping Cough: Preventing Pertussis
- Gene Tests May Improve Therapy for Endometrial Cancer
- Family Studies of Type 1 Diabetes
- Featured Website: Pregnancy: Every Week Counts
The earlier, commonly used term “novel coronavirus” or “NCoV” is being superseded by the newly designated term “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).” The Coronavirus Study Group, International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, announced the new terminology, which is being adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups. When searching for information on this virus, it may be useful to use both the old and new terms, as well as other terms that have been used to describe the virus; including human betacoronavirus 2c EMC, human betacoronavirus 2c England-Qatar, human betacoronavirus 2C Jordan-N3, or betacoronavirus England 1. One caveat is that searching PubMed with the term “coronavirus” will retrieve many citations related to the 2002-03 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak, since the SARS virus and MERS-CoV are both coronaviruses. Following are key resources for tracking MERS-CoV news:
- CDC’s comprehensive home page on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)
- CDC Travel Health Notices: A Novel Coronavirus Called “MERS-CoV” in the Arabian Peninsula
- World Health Organization home page on Coronavirus Infections
- “Latest News” on the home page for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota
- ProMED-mail, from the International Society for Infectious Diseases, posts frequent updates
- WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean home page on Surveillance, Forecasting and Response: Outbreaks
- WHO Regional Office for Europe home page on Influenza: Coronavirus Infections
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control home page on Coronavirus Infections “What’s New”
- HealthMap “Coronavirus Surveillance”
We are entering a critical time in health care in the United States. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) changes the American health care system in many ways. Of major importance is the fact that it expands access to health insurance for millions of Americans. But do Americans understand the changes that are coming? Do they understand their options for health insurance or how to choose the insurance plan that best meets their needs? And will they know how to use that insurance plan once they have it? Many people don’t have this understanding, and they have a hard time getting reliable information when they try to learn more.
Six participants in the Collaborative on Health Literacy and Access, Health Care Coverage, and Care of the IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy have prepared a discussion paper that presents basic information that can be used to help people understand their health insurance options. The 14-page paper, Helping Consumers Understand and Use
Health Insurance in 2014, is a resource for those who will be helping consumers make important decisions; including patient navigators, community organizations, employers, media, educators, and any individual or organization working to improve understanding of options for health insurance.