Friday, November 26, 2010

Health Reform Update

Health Reform News

CDC Vital Signs highlight recent data on important health topics. November’s health topic is Access to Care: http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/HealthcareAccess/ New estimates show that the number of Americans without health insurance is growing, affecting middle-income Americans as well as those living in poverty. Adults without consistent health insurance are more likely to skip medical care because of cost concerns, which can lead to poorer health, higher long-term health care costs, and early death.

People with Medicare can review their current coverage or choose a new Medicare plan that works for them through the Open Enrollment period that ends Dec. 31: http://www.medicare.gov/navigation/medicare-basics/open-enrollment.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

The Affordable Care Act provides important new benefits to most people with Medicare starting in January 2011, including a 50% discount on brand name drugs for people who fall into the coverage gap, free annual wellness visits, and free mammograms, colonoscopies, and other screenings. For more information: http://www.healthcare.gov/foryou/seniors/strengthening/index.html

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced the launch of the new application cycle for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment Program. The NHSC offers primary care medical, dental and mental health clinicians up to $60,000 to repay student loans in exchange for two years of service at health care facilities in medically underserved areas. This year’s investment in the program, which includes $290 million from the Affordable Care Act, seeks to address shortages in the primary health care workforce and translates into greater access to healthcare for those who might otherwise go without.

The Affordable Care Act also provides more flexibility in how the Corps administers the loan repayment program. In addition to monetary awards that are higher than previous years, the Corps will give members the option of working half-time to fulfill their service obligation and provide credit for some teaching hours.

For more information: http://www.hhs.gov/newss/press/2010pres/11/20101122b.html

Health Reform in Maine

Maine Primary Care Association has been awarded $86,434 in additional technical assistance and training funds through the Affordable Care Act. For more information: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2010pres/11/20101119b.html

For more information about Health Reform in Maine, visit the Governor’s Office of Health Policy and Finance’s web site: http://www.maine.gov/healthreform/

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