January 30th, 2015
With the current tax-filing season upon us now and the need for people to learn about reporting their compliance with the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) individual mandate, it is good to see what foundations are doing to educate people about the law, or what some call Obamacare, in general.
Here are a few examples of foundation-funded projects that have come across my desk in the past few months. They show how foundations can inform the public about the successes and challenges of reform.
Resources to Aid in ACA Open Enrollment (including a cartoon video!)
On December 22 the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) put out an e-alert letting ACA navigators and assistors, as well as journalists, know about three helpful resources on its website.
- A list of answers to nearly 300 frequently asked questions (FAQs) about health reform. Topics of new and updated FAQs include plan cancellations, financial assistance for coverage, potential penalties for not obtaining coverage, exemptions to the individual mandate, and more. There is an abundance of information here for novices and even folks who may think they know quite a bit about the ACA.
- The KFF’s Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator, which has zip code–specific data on 2015 plans sold by the marketplaces, allows consumers to generate estimates of health insurance premiums and any government subsidies available to them under the various plans, the e-alert says. This calculator can also help people figure out if they are eligible for Medicaid. This tool is available in Spanish.
- And, last but not least, the foundation has released another YouToons video (cartoon on YouTube), also available in Spanish. I have to say that I really enjoy these well-done KFF productions. (Free Range Studios did the creative production and animation on this newest one.) The title of the newest video, released on December 2, is “Health Insurance Explained: The YouToons Have It Covered.” This is useful because, remember, not everyone understands, for example, what a “deductible” or a “provider network” is. The narrator is former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). (He is on the KFF’s board of trustees.) Frist reminds viewers that understanding health insurance is important to one’s health and one’s wallet.
Recent KFF polling has found that more than 40 percent of the uninsured “could not correctly identify the definitions of essential health insurance terms” (source: KFF poll conducted in October 2014) and only 5 percent of the uninsured knew that they have until February 15, 2015 to sign up for coverage under the ACA (source: KFF poll conducted in December 2014), the e-alert says.
On December 18, the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released results of a survey of large employers’ priorities in health policy. Of highest importance to senior executives in jumbo-sized companies in the United States were policies to advance reform of the health care delivery system, better measure quality of care, and achieve more price transparency across the US health care system, according to a press release. And almost 90 percent of respondents believed that “greater engagement in the health care policymaking process is an important mechanism for bringing about needed change.” Because there are barriers to most businesses being more proactively engaged in health policy, many of the executives surveyed believed “the best way to influence [health] policy is by engaging in various coalitions and associations,” the release explained. Read the rest of this entry »