Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Affordable Care Act in Your State: Utah

The Affordable Care Act is being implemented with partners across the country and, since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $12.8 million in new grant funding in Utah.

Specifically, the Affordable Care Act is already helping the people of Utah by:

Providing New Benefits and Lowering Costs for Medicare Beneficiaries 
Nearly all of the 290,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Utah can now receive certain preventive services – like mammograms and colonoscopies – as well as an annual wellness visit with their doctor without paying coinsurance or deductibles. In fact, 4,476 residents of Utah have already received an annual wellness visit this year.  In addition, more than 22,353 Utah residents who hit the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the “donut hole” received $250 tax-free rebates in 2010.  This year, seniors are receiving a 50% discount on covered brand name prescription drugs in the donut hole, and by 2020 the donut hole will be closed.

Bringing Insurance Reforms to Utah Residents
People across Utah are benefiting from key insurance reforms that went into effect in 2010:
  • 1.9 million residents with private insurance are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage.
  • The 216,000 residents of Utah who buy coverage on the individual market can now trust that their coverage will not be rescinded due to a mistake on an application.
  • Because of the Affordable Care Act, most young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until their 26th birthday.  An estimated 10,500 young adults in Utah will gain coverage this year because of this provision.
  • Insurance companies are prohibited from denying coverage to the 206,000 children in Utah with pre-existing conditions.
$1 Million to Scrutinize Unreasonable Rate Increases 
New rules require insurers to publicly justify unreasonable premium rate increases, and strengthen States’ abilities to crack down on rate hikes. Utah is receiving $1 million to crack down on unreasonable insurance rate increases.
Supporting Utah’s Work on Affordable Insurance Exchanges with $1 Million in Planning Grants
These grants will give States the resources they need to conduct the research and planning necessary to build a better health insurance marketplace and determine how their Exchanges will be operated and governed. Learn how the funds are being used in Utah here.
Lowering Early Retiree Coverage Costs 
48 employers in Utah have enrolled in the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, and Utah employers have already received $6.9 million in reimbursement. The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program provides much-needed financial relief to businesses, schools and other educational institutions, unions, State and local governments, and non-profits, in order to help retirees and their families continue to have quality, affordable health coverage.  Find a list of organizations accepted into this program here.
Preventing Illness and Promoting Health
In 2010, Utah received $3.4 million in grants from the Prevention and Public Health Fund created by the Affordable Care Act. This new fund was created to prevent illness and promote health, so that all Americans can lead longer, more productive lives.
  •  $670,000 for community and clinical prevention activities, which will help Utah and its partners prevent and manage costly conditions.
  • $550,000 to support public health infrastructure.  These grants strengthen State and local capacity to meet 21st century public health challenges.
  • $2.1 million invested in primary care training, which will expand and support Utah’s health workforce.
In 2011, the Prevention and Public Health Fund has already provided $1.6 million to Utah to support the critical work of State and local health departments.
$3.6 Million Investment in Community Health Centers
The Affordable Care Act has invested $3.6 million in new and existing community health centers in Utah. Currently there are more than 1,100 health centers operating over 8,100 service delivery sites across the country. 
$12.7 Million in Therapeutic Discovery Project Program Tax Credits and Grants
This program was created by the Affordable Care Act to support groundbreaking biomedical research to produce new therapies, address unmet medical needs, reduce the long-term growth of health care costs and advance the goal of curing cancer within the next 30 years.  In Utah, this program will support projects that show significant potential to produce new and cost-saving therapies, support good jobs, and increase U.S. competitiveness.  This program is operated by the Department of the Treasury, and a full list of small businesses participating in this program is available here.
Other Grants Awarded in Utah:
  • $1.6 million for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs.  These programs bring health professionals to meet with at-risk families in their homes and connect families to the kinds of help that can make a real difference in a child’s health, development, and ability to learn - such as health care, developmental services for children, early education, parenting skills, child abuse prevention, and nutrition.
  • $60,000 to support outreach to eligible Medicare beneficiaries about their benefits.
  • $530,000 for the Personal Responsibility Education Program, which will educate young adults on the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
  • $95,700 for Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, organizations run by and for families with children with special health care needs.
For more information, go to healthcare.gov

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