Tag Archives: affordable care act

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.)

Health Care News Roundup

Infographic: what matters to consumers in the new Colorado Health Benefits ExchangeColorado’s Health Exchange: What Consumers Want

As full implementation of the Affordable Care Act draws nearer, advocates and policymakers across Colorado are hard at work developing plans for the state’s new Health Benefits Exchange. Michael Booth at the Denver Post takes a look at the results of recent community forums that asked consumers what features or qualities are important to them in a tool that is supposed to help them understand their options and choose a health insurance plan. Click on the image at left to see the infographic larger.

Share Your Health Insurance Story (CCHI)

Is your insurance unaffordable? Have your rates increased unreasonably? Tell us about it! The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, an advocacy organization that works for barrier-free access to quality healthcare, wants to hear your story. We are building a storybank – a collection of real peoples’ experiences with the healthcare system – so that we can better inform the media, elected officials, and our fellow Coloradans about important issues. We want to help you make your voice heard. Click here to share your story! 

Upcoming Events

On Tuesday, January 22, 12:00 – 1:30pm MST, health care providers and administrators are invited to a webinar hosted by the National Wraparound Initiative: Using Medicaid Health Homes with Wraparound to Serve Youth Populations with Complex Behavioral Health Needs. Click to register. This webinar will provide an overview of the Medicaid Health Home provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and its application to children with serious and complex behavioral health needs. Learn what administrative, workforce, and practice level strategies states can adopt within the Health Home model to implement a high quality wraparound and intensive care coordination approach for these youths and their families.

The 5th Annual Jewish Disabilities Awareness Day and Family Resource Fair, Finding Ability in Disability: Promoting Understanding and Inclusion, is on Sunday, January 27, 2:00 – 5:00pm at the Elaine Wolf Theatre and the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 South Dahlia Street in Denver. Free and open to the public.

PEAK Parent Center’s Conference on Inclusive Education is coming up, February 7-8, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Denver.  Parents, teachers, special educators, school administrators and other school professionals will all find something of interest in the speakers, workshops, and break-out sessions. There’s still time to register, but hurry, since the event may sell out!

Firefly Autism is having an intensive Social Skills Camp for children with Autism from March 25-29.  We want to get the word out and would appreciate your support in letting your families know, and the Autism Community at large.  Please refer any questions to Jenny Blankenship, Director of Outreach & Social Skills Services, at jblankenship@fireflyautism.org (303-759-1192, x12).

Medicaid expansion is good news for Colorado

Last week, Governor Hickenlooper announced that Colorado will move forward with the Medicaid expansion called for under the Affordable Care Act. Family Voices Colorado joins The Colorado Health Foundation and other health care advocacy groups in applauding the decision to increase health care coverage for thousands of currently uninsured Coloradans.

Colorado has been actively preparing for Medicaid expansion since the Colorado Health Care Affordability Act (HB 09-1293) passed in 2009, with a Hospital Provider Fee contributing funds toward Medicaid and drawing down additional federal funding to support health care services for additional low-income populations. But last week’s announcement is the first official assurance that an additional 160,000 adults whose incomes are below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (currently $14,856 for an individual or $30,657 for a family of four), will become eligible for Medicaid in 2014, since the Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal government could not compel states to expand their Medicaid programs. Eric Whitney summarizes the legislation and potential impact well in this article for Kaiser Health News; Jeff Bontrager and Megan Lane raise some additional questions in the Colorado Health Institute’s blog.

Family Voices Colorado believes that all people deserve access to quality health care. And although eligibility for health insurance (public or private) is not the same as access to care, lack of insurance coverage is often a primary barrier to accessing family-centered, comprehensive, coordinated care in a medical home. Therefore, we support this expansion of public health insurance coverage in our state, as an opportunity to improve health outcomes and opportunities to thrive for vulnerable Coloradans.

Family Voices staff work with many families who rely on Medicaid for health care coverage, whether solely for a child with a disability or for the entire family. If you have questions about whether your family may be eligible for Medicaid or CHP+, please call us at 303-733-3000 or 800-881-8272. And know that we will continue to speak up on behalf of children and youth with special health care needs and their families as health care reform is implemented.