Important information on Latino outreach, from Public News Service:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With just about six weeks to go in the open-enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, the push is on to reach the Latino community, which officials say has traditionally not had widespread access to affordable health insurance.
According to Mayra Alvarez, associate director for the Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the latest study finds that eight in ten uninsured Latinos can now get a break on the cost of insurance.
“So it really sends a strong message to the Latino community that an overwhelming majority would quality for some form of financial assistance in the form of tax credits to help pay for private coverage, or Medicaid, or CHIP,” she said.
According to HHS, in Missouri there are 172,000 Latinos who may be eligible for insurance coverage, 43,000 of whom, a quarter, are currently uninsured.
Alvarez said the Department has teamed up with local Latino groups, specially-trained community assisters, churches, schools and other organizations to help spread the word about what she called a historic opportunity for Latinos to address longstanding inequities in access to health care.
“Survey after survey tells us that the Latino community wants to receive information from trusted sources, and two of those most trusted sources are, one, Spanish-language media, and two, people in their community,” she said.
Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act runs through March 31, and can be completed online in both English and Spanish. Enrollment information in English is at HealthCare.gov and in Spanish at CuidadoDeSalud.gov. – See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/37579-1#sthash.CV2fDmyx.dpuf
Things are looking up when it comes to enrollment in the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces. According to the Washington Post’s Wonkblog,
The Obama administration has beaten a monthly health insurance enrollment target for the first time, according to data released Wednesday showing that more than 1.14 million people signed up for health plans in January in the new insurance marketplace.
What’s that mean in terms of total enrollment? 3.3 Americans now have insurance through the marketplaces. That’s still below the overall goal, but it’s good to see things moving in the right direction. More in-depth info at the HHS site.
Legislators “not just putting political concerns ahead of our economy, they’re also endangering the lives of Missourians who would gain coverage”
Jefferson City, Mo. – A new study by Harvard researchers and published on the influential Health Affairs blog shows that the continued refusal of the Missouri General Assembly to act on Medicaid expansion will cost the state untold billions of dollars in federal funding but also endanger the lives of thousands of Missourians. The researchers estimate some 700 Missourians will die each year as a result of not getting the medical treatment they would have if the state had acted to expand the Medicaid program.
Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance Executive Director Andrea Routh says responsibility for these lives lost will rest squarely on the shoulders of state legislators if they do not pass Medicaid expansion soon. “We’ve known for more than a year that many politicians in Jefferson City were content to leave billions of dollars in revenue on the table,” Routh said. “What we didn’t know is just how tragic their choices would be for Missouri families. Now we know and the numbers are staggering.”
The study estimated that failure to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program would result in:
- Women missing 4,086 mammograms and 14,134 Pap smears
- 12,947 diabetics not getting vital medications
- 21,816 Missourians failing to get help with depression
- 7,770 Missourians incurring catastrophic medical expenses
Health Affairs is the nation’s leading journal of health policy research. The report was released January 30 and may be viewed at http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2014/01/30/opting-out-of-medicaid-expansion-the-health-and-financial-impacts/.
“Legislators are not just putting political concerns ahead of our economy, they’re also endangering the lives of Missourians who would gain coverage through Medicaid expansion,” Routh added. “It’s unconscionable on every level.”
The following is the response of Andrea Routh to Governor Nixon’s State of the State address:
Governor Nixon was once again right to focus his State of the State message on the importance of expanding Missouri’s Medicaid program. Extending health coverage to hundreds of thousands of working Missourians that currently don’t meet our state’s eligibility guidelines –among the most restrictive in the country – should be a no-brainer for the General Assembly this session.
Instead, some legislators are poised instead to leave billions of our tax dollars on the table, eager to score election year points with narrow interest groups. They steadfastly refuse to accept federal funding to help working families in our state gain access to vital medical services. But Missouri accepts federal funding for bridges, roads and schools every year – why not do the same to strengthen the state’s economy and save lives? With more than a quarter of a million Missourians to see improved access to health care, Medicaid expansion means not just improving lives but saving them as well.
There are many reasons for the legislature to act on Medicaid expansion and only one holding us back: politics. Medicaid expansion would save lives, strengthen the economy and provide much-needed financial stability to working families that remain just one accident or illness from ruin. In the weeks and months to come I can only hope our elected officials listen to the needs and voices of the people – who overwhelmingly spoke in favor of Medicaid expansion at town halls across the state last year – and at long last expand Medicaid in Missouri.
Despite overwhelming demand creating difficulties in the HealthCare.gov health insurance exchange website, there are in fact three other ways to submit applications: by phone, mailing in a paper application and with the assistance of an insurance counselor called a navigator. News reports from Kansas City show the other methods are working just fine for Americans seeking health insurance coverage.
Rep. Norr (D-Springfield) penned a great piece for the Springfield News-Leader today.
Whether you were in favor of the new health care law or not, to me, there is one thing that stands out. Thousands of Missourians, more than 200,000, many in Springfield and in my district, are being left out because the Missouri legislature played politics with people’s lives and did not expand Medicaid.
As expected, the launch of open enrollment for the new health insurance marketplaces has gotten off to a rollicking start. So many people were shopping for private insurance this morning that the servers temporarily ground to a near-halt. Never fear, consumers, for healthcare.gov is alive and kicking – and because you have until December 15 to enroll in a plan that will start on January 1, 2014. How good is it going so far?
A senior Obama administration official reported that just three hours after Obamacare’s open enrollment period launched, the national Healthcare.gov site had one million visitors. That’s five times more users on the site than the number of users who have ever visited Medicare.gov at the same time.
Think Progress has more.
Consumers to find insurance more affordable than ever before
Jefferson City, Mo. – The private health insurance marketplaces established in each state under the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) are now officially open for business. By visiting healthcare.gov consumers will be able to compare health plans in easy-to-understand language, get real prices and make informed decisions about which plan is right for them. Open enrollment begins today and runs through December 15. Plans will begin coverage on January 1, 2014.
“Starting today Americans will be able to easily comparison-shop private health insurance plans for the first time,” said Andrea Routh, Executive Director of the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance. “Just like we price and book vacation travel through Expedia.com and other similar websites, healthcare.gov will be the place to go to make apples-to-apples comparisons of plans from a variety of insurance companies – all of whom will be competing for our business.”
Routh said most consumers will find a variety of affordable plans. “A family of four in Missouri with a household income of $50,000 will pay just $282 per month for a ‘silver’ plan after discounts,” she said. “6 in 10 consumers will pay less than $100 per month after the discounts. The bottom line is that insurance will be more affordable for more Missourians than ever before. At the same time, consumers have plenty of time to do their research. Open enrollment for plans beginning coverage on January 1 runs through December 15.”
Consumers “will indeed be shocked – by how affordable health insurance is about to become”
Jefferson City, Mo. – The following is comment from Andrea Routh, Executive Director of the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance, on the announcement that insurance premiums in the health insurance marketplaces of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) will be even lower than expected:
“We always knew the insurance companies and their allies were fudging the truth when they warned about insurance premium ‘rate shock.’ What we didn’t know is just how wrong they were. Now we do. The only thing shocking about the premiums consumers will see when they look into purchasing health insurance through the marketplaces is just how affordable plans will be.”
“According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today, the national average premium for marketplace plans will be 16% less than projected by the Congressional Budget Office. That’s before income-based discounts kick in. For instance, a 55 year-old making $25,000 per year will pay just $145 a month for a low deductible plan. A family of four in Missouri with a household income of $50,000 will pay just $282 per month for a “silver” plan after discounts. 6 in 10 consumers will qualify for these insurance discounts. Furthermore, consumers will have an average of 53 insurance plans to choose between in the 36 states with federally-run insurance marketplaces.”
“The bottom line here is that when Americans log on to healthcare.gov to price insurance plans starting on October 1, they will indeed be shocked – by how affordable health insurance is about to become.”