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Health Care Law Updates

If you’ve been listening to the federal budget discussion and the “sequestration” that is now in effect, applying spending cuts across the board, you may be wondering what that means for health care. The good news is that certain important programs, like Medicaid, Social Security, and SNAP (food stamps) are exempt from the cuts. The not-so-good news is that Medicare provider payments will be cut 2% on an annualized basis. Of course, this could all change if Congress can agree on a way forward for federal deficit reduction.

Federal grant funds, like the Family-to-Family Health Information Center Grant that supports some of our work at Family Voices Colorado, will see some cuts, but we are still waiting to find out exactly how those will be applied. At this point we are not planning to reduce staffing or services, but please contact us if you have any questions.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as health care reform, Obamacare, or ACA, will be rolled out fully as of January 1, 2014. The law is wide-reaching in its implications for health insurance companies and for individual and family consumers. Here are a few resources that might be helpful as you or people you know are trying to understand the big picture more fully:

HealthCare.Gov: Learn about health insurance basics, sign up for email or text message updates, read about the coming Health Insurance Marketplaces, and find out how the new federal law might affect you. http://www.healthcare.gov/

Connect for Health Colorado: Formerly called the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange, this is our state’s Health Insurance Marketplace. Information and resources are available now, but the insurance plan research and application functions will go live this fall. http://www.getcoveredco.org/

The Health Care Law 101.  National Family Voices is offering a presentation on the main provisions in the Affordable Care Act and how to access care in your community in English on March 7 at 1pm EST/11am MST, and in Spanish on March 19 at 3pm EDT/1pm MDT. (Note that we switch to Daylight Savings Time this weekend, March 10, 2013.)

Frequently Asked Questions about ACA Implementation.  CMS has posted a set of frequently asked questions about Medicaid and CHIP (State Child Health Insurance Program – CHP+ in Colorado) issues related to the ACA, including changes in Medicaid eligibility (under the “Eligibility Policy” category.)

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