Thursday, October 30, 2014

Your Utah Your Future. Gov Herbert's new imitative for planning for Utah's future.

Utah is growing. By the year 2050, the population will nearly double in size. This is nothing new. Utah has a history of growth, and a successful track record of planning for the future.

That ethic of stewardship to future generations is as critical as ever.  Governor Herbert has launched the Your Utah Your Future initiative to ensure we address growth issues in a way that enhances what we value most about Utah and ensures the best quality of life for our children and grandchildren.  We have partnered with Envision Utah to reach out to all Utahns in this process.  

Now we need your help to make sure Utah not only retains but enhances its great quality of life today and tomorrow

I ask that you participate in the 2014 Your Utah Your Future project by visiting http://envisionutah.org/?atid=36. You can begin by playing the Build Your 2050 Utah game where you’ll be able to make choices about Utah’s future and watch them come to life. Afterward, you’ll have a chance to invite those in your social networks to do the same.  Your voice matters. Share how you think Utah should grow.

The goal is to have 50,000 participants join the process and share their voice so Utah can stay a great place to live for decades to come. As state employees, we have a responsibility to engage and lead by example.  I encourage you to be a part of this process. 


Justin Harding, Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor, State of Utah

Did you buy health insurance on the Marketplace last time? Here's what you need to do.

There were 84,601 Utahns who signed up for new health insurance on healthcare.gov during the first open enrollment period in 2014. That means lots of Utahns have questions about how to renew or switch their insurance for 2015. They might also be wondering how their premium subsidies(defined) might change. 

Any Utahn with health insurance purchased from healthcare.gov should take 30 minutes to follow the steps outlined in this article. If you don’t, you could end up paying too much for health insurance, or keeping a plan that doesn't work for you anymore. 


Utah Health Policy Project (Utah's largest navigator grant recipient) recommends that you schedule a “tune up” for your ACA insurance before the December 15th deadline to finalize your insurance for 2015.

 
In fact, we recommend you do it well before December 15th because everyone and their grandmother will be logging into healthcare.gov in mid-December. Trust us. You don’t want to be there. 

 
If you’re unsure how to proceed, or the prospect of going to healthcare.gov makes you want to binge-watch Toddlers & Tiaras, we’ve got you covered. 


Contact the trained enrollment experts at Take Care Utah (TCU, www.takecareutah.org) to schedule a one-on-one ‘tune-up’ for your health insurance options. TCU has more than 60 “navigators” and “certified application counselors” standing by to provide free, in-person advice and answers. If you don’t have Internet access, you can find the nearest TCU assistor by calling 2-1-1. 1. 


But if you want to “tune up” your own insurance policy, start by following the three “R” words listed below: Review, Renew, and Re-determine. 


Review: Log into healthcare.gov and update your personal information, income projections, and plan choices. Make sure your current health plan is still your best option. Remember: Even if you keep the same plan, your level of premium subsidies could be different in 2015 (see below) 
Renew: Re-enroll in the same health insurance, or switch to a new plan that suits you better. If yo

Redetermine: Authorize healthcare.gov and the IRS (yes, that IRS) to re-calculate and approve your premium subsidies (also called advanced premium tax credits or APTCs) and cost-sharing assistance. Note: Healthcare.gov is sending notices via postal mail to currently-enrolled consumers to inform them of the redetermination process. 


Shifts in Premium Subsidies 
Keep in mind that your premium subsidies, the financial assistance that reduces your monthly insurance premiums, could change even if your income, family size, and insurance plan remain the same in 2015. 


How can that happen? 


Although all six Utah insurance companies that sold plans on last year’s marketplace are returning for 2015, many of their plans have changed. And more importantly, the benchmark plans (ie. the second-lowest Silver Plan in each geographic area) used to calculate premium subsidies have changed for every geography in Utah (link, “#5. Health Insurance Plan Rates-2015”) 


This means that even if your insurance plan, income, and family size remain the same in 2015, the amount of your premium could change based on shifts elsewhere in the marketplace.

 
For more explanation on how benchmark plans influence subsidies, check out this easy-to-read article, and this detailed study


About Take Care Utah 
Visit www.takecareutah.org 
Call 2-1-1 

Lessons for open enrollment this year

Report from the First Year of Navigator Technical Assistance Project


VOT08017_529_RET

Observations from the first year of the ACA's open enrollment period are highlighted in this report, as well as lessons for navigators as the November 15 open enrollment period approaches.

The Issue:
The next open enrollment period will bring new challenges to this already complicated enrollment process. An estimated 5 million more people will enroll in coverage in the open enrollment period that begins November 15, 2014.
The first open enrollment period was challenging for assisters and consumers. Changing rules, balky websites, and consumers’ unfamiliarity with key provisions of the ACA all contributed to a difficult first year. But consumer assistance helped make it more successful than experts predicted it would be, resulting in a significant decline in the uninsured after the first year of enrollment into marketplace coverage. Marketplaces have an opportunity to build upon that success and strengthen and extend consumer assistance to help people understand their plan options and enroll in coverage.
Navigator recommendations for year two open enrollment include:
  • How to make the process more seamless and consumer-friendly;
  • Improved tools to help assist potential enrollees; and
  • How navigators can effectively tap insurance agents and brokers, as well as tax preparers to help enroll the uninsured.
 RWJF.org

UDOH seeking your input about infants, children and women in Utah

The Utah Department of Health is soliciting your views about the health needs and concerns of infants, children and women in Utah. Your input is crucial and will help us determine statewide prioritized health issues and develop plans to address them. Please click the link below.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Get ready to enroll in Marketplace coverage

Starting November 15th, you’ll be able to apply and enroll in 2015 Marketplace coverage. If you’re eligible, the Health Insurance Marketplace can help you find affordable health coverage. Most people who apply qualify for premium tax credits and other savings based on their income.

If you already have 2014 Marketplace coverage, you’ll be receiving important information abouthow to keep your coverage for 2015.

Here are some things you can do now to get ready for November 15th:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In-Store Calorie Signage Results in Teens Purchasing Fewer Sugary Beverages

Gantz_NC_062613-1989_RTA new study released last week in the American Journal of Public Healthreveals adolescents who saw printed signs with easy-to-understand calorie information about sugar-sweetened beverages—including the amount of exercise required to burn off the calories in these beverages or the numbers of teaspoons of sugar in these beverages—were more likely to purchase a drink with fewer calories. Researchers also found that the purchasing behavior persisted for six weeks after the signs came down. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Health Insurance Marketplace: 10 Things to Tell Your Patients

If you are a provider, here are 10 things you can tell your patients about the Health Insurance Marketplace
  1. If you don’t already have health coverage, the Health Insurance Marketplace is a way to find and buy health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs.
  2. Open Enrollment starts November 15, 2014, and ends February 15, 2015. Plans and prices will be available then. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2015.
  3. Not only can you view and compare health coverage options online, but with one simple application, you can have those options tailored to your personal situation and find out if you might be eligible, based on your income, for help paying for coverage.
  4. The same application will let you find out if you and your household members might qualify for free or low-cost coverage available through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
  5. The information is all available online, but you can apply 4 ways: online at HealthCare.gov, by phone, by mail, or in-person with the help of a trained assister or navigator.
  6. Each health plan will generally offer comprehensive coverage, including a core set of essential health benefits like doctor visits,preventive care, maternity care, hospitalization, prescription drugs, and more.
  7. No matter where you live, there will be a Marketplace in your state, offering plans from private companies where you’ll be able to compare your health coverage options based on price, benefits, quality, and other features important to you before you make a choice.
  8. Health insurance companies selling plans through the Marketplace can’t deny you coverage or charge you more due to pre-existing health conditions, and they can’t charge women and men different premiums based on their sex.
  9. Each state will have a Marketplace, run either by the state, through a state-federal partnership, or by the federal government.
  10. For more information, visit HealthCare.gov. Or, call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.