West Virginians for Affordable Health CareWVAHC logo
Committed to affordable health care for all West Virginians... and doing something about it!

Training on the New Enrollment Process is Available from WVAHC

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands health insurance coverage to virtually all Americans in two basic ways. First, many states, including West Virginia, are expanding Medicaid up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) on January 1, 2014. The Medicaid expansion means that everyone who earns less than $15,800, who is a US citizen, who lives in West Virginia and is under age 65, is eligible for Medicaid beginning January 1, 2014. An estimated 133,500 low-income West Virginians will qualify under the Medicaid expansion. Second, subsidized private insurance plans will be available in the Health Insurance Marketplace. The subsidies for these insurance plans are available on a sliding scale to individuals and families earning between 100 percent (about $11,500 for an individual and $19,500 for a family of three) and 400 percent of the FPL (about $46,000 for an individual and $78,000 for a family of three). These policies also become effective as early as January 1, 2014. Enrollment in both the expanded Medicaid and the subsidized private insurance plans can begin on October 1, 2013.
 
The Offices of the Insurance Commissioner projects that over the next three years the percentage of uninsured West Virginians will be reduced by 70 percent. The current number of uninsured, 246,000, will be reduced to 76,000. Imagine 170,000 fewer uninsured West Virginians within three years.
 
This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide health care and financial security to thousands of our neighbors, friends and colleagues. In order to take full advantage of this opportunity, WVAHC is offering a series of regional training across the state. The training is designed to develop “community assisters.” The role of community assisters is to educate the public on the new insurance options and how to enroll; assist people with uncomplicated family situations to enroll in Medicaid; and to connect the uninsured to more highly trained individuals who can enroll even the most complicated situations.
 
If you are a FRN, CAP agency, a faith-based organization, a local health department, volunteer fire department or someone who wants to help with enrollment, you can register for any of the training sessions listed below through the web site www.enrollwv.org.

A link to a four page summary of the new insurance options and who will be involved in the new enrollment process can be found here.
 
This is an opportunity to improve the quality of life for thousands of West Virginians. Please join us in taking full advantage of this golden opportunity. Thanks.

ENROLL WEST VIRGINIA REGIONAL TRAINING SCHEDULE

Oak Hill: August 21, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Historic Oak Hill School. Registration starts at 8:30 am.

Parkersburg: August 27 at WVU Parkersburg. Time to be decided.

Morgantown: August 27, from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm at Mon General Hospital in the Mylan Room. Registration starts at 9:30 am.

Beckley: August 29 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Dream Center. Registration starts at 8:30 am.

Clarksburg: August 29 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at United Hospital. Registration starts at 12:30 pm.

Martinsburg: September 4, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Byrd Center at WVU Eastern Hospital. Registration begins at 8:30 am.

Wheeling: September 9, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at West Liberty University’s Highlands Center in Triadelphia. Registration starts at 8:30 am.

Weirton: September 18, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Mary H. Weir Library, 3422 Main Street, Weirton. Registration begins at 8:30 am.

Charleston: September 12, from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm in the auditorium of the Columbia Gas Building in Kanawha City, 1700 MacCorkle Ave. Registration starts at 9:30 am.

Mineral County and surrounding counties: September 13, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Mineral County Health Department in Keyser, West Virginia. Registration begins at 8:30 am.

Huntington: September 20 from 9:00 am to 1 PM, Cabell-Huntington Health Department,
Huntington, WV

WVAHC Host Successful Enroll West Virginia Conference

Enroll West Virginia conferenceWest Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVAHC) hosted a successful Enroll West Virginia conference on May 14th in Flatwoods. The conference drew nearly 250 participants with strong representation from community health centers, family resource networks (FRNs), free clinics, local health departments, hospitals: people who deal with the uninsured on a daily basis and are critical to enrolling the uninsured in either Medicaid or private insurance policies sold in the Health Insurance Marketplace – or exchanges. State agencies, including the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, also participated in the conference.

During the conference, WVAHC released A Citizen’s Guide to Enrollment, a 28-page resource guide for people who are going to be involved in the enrollment process. You can view a copy of the Guide by clicking here.

The conference heard eight different presentations from national and state leaders on the enrollment process. Listed below are the presenters and the PowerPoint presentations that they used.

Nancy Atkins, Medicaid Commissioner, presentation on enrollment in Medicaid. (Download Presentation)

Sharon Carte, Director of CHIP, presentation on the changes in CHIP. (Download Presentation)

Richard Crespo and Cathy Slemp, researchers from Marshall University, presentation on health insurance literacy. (Download Presentation)

Joanne Grossi, US Department of Health and Human Services Region III Administrator, presentation on the federal role in enrollment in West Virginia. (Download Presentation)

Anita Hayes, Senior Policy Specialist for the Bureau for Children and Families at DHHR, on the use of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) to determine income. (Download Presentation)

Rachel Klein, Executive Director of Enroll America, on best practices for enrollment. (Download Presentation)

Jeremiah Samples, Project Manager for the Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, presentation on in-person assisters. (Download Presentation)

Kathleen Stoll, Deputy Executive Director of Families USA, presentation on how enrollment impacts people. (Download Presentation)

WVAHC will be following up on the one-day conference with 14 regional training sessions across the state in July. We will post the dates and places as soon as they are established on the Enroll West Virginia web site (www.enrollwv.org) and you will be able to register for these training sessions on that web site. Be sure to check back on that web site in June.

Governor Tomblin Approves the Medicaid Expansion

On May 2nd, Governor Tomblin approved the Medicaid expansion clearing the way for an estimated 133,500 low-income west Virginians to become eligible for Medicaid benefits as early as January 1, 2014.

In approving the expansion, Governor Tomblin released an actuarial analysis finding that over the next ten years West Virginia would receive $5.2 billion in federal money. The Medicaid expansion would only cost the state $375 million over the same time period. Put another way, West Virginia will receive almost $14 in federal money for each dollar they invest in the Medicaid expansion over the next ten year. In fact, the federal government pays 100 percent of the expansion cost over the next three years. Over time their percentage is reduced to 90 percent but never falls below a $9 return on every $1 that the state contributes to the expansion.

Behind all these numbers are west Virginians, most of whom work but work for an employer who cannot afford to provide health insurance for their employees. They are the waitress who serves us our lunches, employees of small roofing contractors, aides in a nursing home or employees of day care centers.

Governor Tomblin deserves credit for extending health insurance coverage to these working poor individuals and families. The chart below illustrates what difference the Medicaid expansion will mean to a family of three. The current income eligibility rises from $6,000 a year to almost $27,000 a year. Please write Governor Tomblin a letter of thanks for expanding Medicaid. His address is Building 1, State Capitol Complex, Charleston, west Virginia 25305. Thank you.

Family of 3 chart

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVAHC) has developed a DVD with West Virginians telling their own stories about how the Affordable Care Act has impacted them and their small businesses. Faces of Reform in West Virginia was used in WVAHC’s successful training initiative. Over 200 people across the state were trained on the details of the Affordable Care Act. They in turn are educating 50 of their friends, neighbors and colleagues. WVAHC’s goal is to reach 10,000 West Virginians will solid, objective information on the Affordable Care Act. The more people know about the Affordable Care Act, the more they are supportive of it. WVAHC is interested in providing additional training sessions. If you know an organization that would bring together 20 people to be trained on the Affordable Care Act, contact Perry Bryant at perrybryant@suddenlink.org, and we will schedule a session.

Historic National Health Care Reforms Adopted

PPACA logoOn March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This historic piece of legislation has three basic goals: reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million; strengthen regulation of the insurance industry; and begin the difficult task of controlling health care costs, particularly for Medicare.

With the passage of the ACA almost all Americans will now enjoy the same fundamental rights to health care that citizens of every other developed nation enjoy.

As part of an extensive public education campaign, WVAHC has developed The Affordable Care Act: Moving Forward in West Virginia. This booklet providing consumers with details of the ACA and outlines recent regulations being adopted by the Obama Administration. The guide is an objective review of the major provision of the Act and its impact on West Virginia’s families and businesses. The foreword is written by Senator Jay Rockefeller.

Additionally, WVAHC has developed a series of other materials, including:

New!

and a series of PowerPoint presentations that include:

In addition to these materials, WVAHC held a series of town meeting across West Virginia. These town meetings have allowed us to explain the provisions of the ACA and answer questions that people have about the reforms. It is that dialogue that is so important to helping people understand this complex public policy initiative. There have already been several town meetings -- in Parkersburg, Wheeling, Morgantown, Elkins, Shepherdstown, Beckley, Charleston and Huntington. WVAHC is working to schedule additional town meetings in Fairmont, Lewisburg, Clarksburg and Logan.

Help for Small Businesses

WVAHC recognizes the unique challenges that small businesses, both for-profit and nonprofit, face. They struggle to provide their employees health insurance coverage. Small businesses pay almost 20 percent more than larger employers for the same health insurance plan. And insurance companies charge small businesses more for administrative costs than they do for larger employers. The Affordable Care Act provides both short- and long-term assistance to small businesses. Small businesses, particularly very small businesses with one or fewer employees that are paid low salaries, qualify for tax credits this year. There are efforts to control the administrative costs that insurance companies charge small businesses. Beginning in 2014, small businesses will be able to purchase health insurance coverage through the health exchanges. These market places for selling health insurance should allow small businesses to purchase health insurance in a simpler manner. The exchanges will promote competition and lower costs. Finally, small businesses will have new protection against huge premium increases because one or more of their employees gets sick and uses their health insurance coverage.

Families USA, a national health care research and consumer advocate organization, published
Good Business Sense: The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit in the Affordable Care Act
.
This report found that more than 16,000 small businesses qualified for the small business health care tax credits in 2011. Over 7,000 very small businesses, those employing ten or fewer employees with average wages of less than $25,000, qualified for the maximum tax credits. If all the businesses in West Virginia that qualified for the tax credit had taken advantage of the tax credits to help provide health insurance to their employees, small businesses in West Virginia would have received $80 million in tax credits in 2011.

To help small businesses, including nonprofit organizations, WVAHC has developed a series of materials:

WVAHC Director Perry Bryant is available to make presentations on the ACA and its impact on small businesses. Contact him at 304-344-1673 or pbryant@wvahc.org

Lower Costs Make for Higher Quality

The report, Lower Costs – Higher Quality, describes actions West Virginia can take to improve quality and contain costs in our health care system. This report is based on in-depth interviews conducted with thirty-three health care opinion leaders in West Virginia and is patterned on a national report prepared by the Commonwealth Fund. In the national report, heath care opinion leaders in high performing states found certain traits led to their state having a high performing health care system. These traits included:

  • Strong and continuous political leadership
  • Collaboration among medical provider organizations
  • Data and transparency
  • Healthier, better educated and a more affluent population

Read what West Virginia health care leaders thought would led our state to become a high performing health care system: one with higher quality and lower costs by clicking .

Tell Us Your Story

Most of us already know that West Virginia is facing a health care crisis. Almost seventeen percent of West Virginians under the age 65 don't have health insurance of any kind. Thousands more are inadequately covered. But behind these numbers are real people with real stories, and each one of them is another reason why West Virginia needs real, meaningful reform. The Affordable Care Act instituted effective reform but it has been under attack even before it is fully implemented. That’s why West Virginians for Affordable Health Care wants to hear your stories. We want to hear from you and add your voice to the ever-growing number of people who are tired of the rising cost of premiums; overwhelming medical debt or being denied coverage because of a pre-existing conditions. Share your story today! Small business owners, patients/consumers, health care providers - everybody has a telling story. We want to hear from you! Tell us Your Story.

Health Insurance Exchanges: Better Quality with Costs Contained

Health Insurance exchanges are marketplaces where small businesses and individuals can shop for easy to understand insurance options. This one-stop shopping for health insurance holds the promise of controlling increases in costs and offering better value--for example, health insurance products with expanded wellness and chronic disease management programs.

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care has developed a four page summary, What Is an Exchange and How Will It Impact Small Businesses and Individuals, on the important decisions facing West Virginia as we begin the process of establishing our health exchanges. Families USA, a national health care research and consumer advocacy organization, has written a more extensive booklet, Implementing Health Insurance Exchanges: A Guide to State Activities and Choices. And the Commonwealth Fund as published Health Insurance Exchanges and the Affordable Care Act: Eight Difficult Issues. This report was written by Professor Timothy Jost of Washington and Lee University School of Law, and is a leading national expert on health exchanges.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner issued a Request for Comments. In response, WVAHC drafted detail comments on who should govern the West Virginia exchange and outlining the mission of the exchange, which should be to promote the interest of consumers. These comments were endorsed by organizations representing nurses, teachers, organized labor, social workers,cancer survivors and consumes. You can read the detailed comments here.

2010 Health Care Reform Summit

2010 Growing Healthy Kids ConferenceThe 2010 Growing Healthy Children Health Care Reform Summit held August 30-31, 2010 was a huge success. The Summit brought some of the most insightful experts on health care policy to Charleston, West Virginia.

Read the front page Charleston Gazette article about the Summit.  Here are some of the presentations made at the Summit:

Download the reform summit brochure and agenda
Visit the summit website

Early Deaths: West Virginians Have Some of the Shortest Life Expectancies in the United States

Short Life ExpectancyWest Virginians have life expectancies that are below the national average, and southern West Virginians have some of the lowest life expectancies in the country, particularly women. These are some of the findings of a report issued in September, 2008 by West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVAHC).
 pdf  Read the Report          Study the Raw Data

 

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