Nov
21
2014
by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Fitbit Data Now Being Used In The Courtroom from Forbes.com
Personal injury cases are prime targets for manipulation and conjecture. How do you show that someone who’s been in a car accident can’t do their job properly, and deserves thousands of dollars in compensation? Till now lawyers have relied on doctors to observe someone for half an hour or so and give their, sometimes-biased opinion. Soon, they might also tap the wealth of quantifiable data provided by fitness trackers. A law firm in Calgary is working on the first known personal injury case that will use activity data from a Fitbit to help show the effects of an accident on their client.

Aging population prompts more employers to offer elder-care benefits to workers from The Washington Post
There have been times these past few years when Samira Siddiqi couldn’t wait for Monday morning to get back to work. The days were a blur for her and her husband, Shaz, as they juggled their work — his as an allergist, hers for an IT company in Gaithersburg — and caring for not only their two daughters but also all four of their elderly parents, who were living with them in their Clarksburg home. They raced from school drop-off to chemotherapy appointments to pharmacy visits.

Skateboard legend Tony Hawk rides a real hoverboard from CNET
Ever since we first saw Marty McFly hop on a hoverboard to escape the bad guys in "Back to the Future Part II," we've been coveting our own futuristic skateboard.

Charles Dickens Gave His Cat “Bob” a Second Life as a Letter Opener from Open Cluture
It’s not for the squeamish, but I can see how this cannily orchestrated hand-holding could bring ongoing comfort. More than the fleeting condolences proliferating on Facebook, anyway.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


                    

Nov
20
2014
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/the-affordable-care-act-is-working">The Affordable Care Act is working. Let's help those who need it. </a></h1>

2015 Enrollment is Open Now!

As Year 2 of Affordable Care Act enrollment gets underway, it's important to note that the law is largely working as intended, and sometimes even better than intended. The Incidental Economist notes the following:

Rates of uninsured persons are down. Millions of people are enrolling. The Congressional Budget Office thinks that it will cost less than they originally projected. The Massachusetts Mortality Study showed that RomneyCare, the ACA’s model, is improving health outcomes (see discussion by Austin here, here, and here; Adrianna here; and me [Bill Gardner] here, here, and here.)). And even Healthcare.gov seems to be working.

They go on to note that despite the law's successes, it still faces vehement opposition from many. This article is an interesting read to understand how our views are impacted by the media we consume, the groups we trust to give us accurate information, and how it lines up with our own preconceived ideas. 

I find the Affordable Care Act to be well in line with the goals of many recent General Convention resolutions supporting health care access. We know that our churches and ministries have access to vulnerable populations who qualify for health insurance under the ACA but are highly susceptible to falling through the cracks and not getting registered. 

My hope is that whether or not individuals agree with the law, they will acknowledge that many have an opportunity to obtain health insurance at an affordable rate, some for the first time. However, many will need help to navigate this complex terrain. Our health ministries in the Episcopal Church can be a valuable link in either helping them directly to sign up or in connecting them with appropriate resources. 

The Affordable Care Act is working. Let's be sure we help those most in need to access health insurance, and by extension, health care in general. 

Nov
18
2014
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/upcoming-webinars-on-affordable-care-act-enrollment">Upcoming Webinars on Affordable Care Act Enrollment</a></h1>

Upcoming Webinars on the Health Care Law

The HHS Partnership Center and CMS have updated webinars on the health care law for faith and community organizations. All webinars are open to the public and include a question and answer session. To participate in one of the webinars, please select your preferred topic from the list below and submit the necessary information. Please contact us at ACA101@hhs.gov if you have problems registering or if you have questions about the health care law. You may also join the webinar by telephone only. To view this information online and to register, please go here: http://www.hhs.gov/partnerships/resources/aca_101-invite.html.

How to Host an Enrollment Event

November 20 at 1 pm EST
(Noon CST, 11 am MST, 10 am PST)

To Join By Phone Only: Dial: +1 (415) 655-0061, Access Code: 986-175-378
For those joining by phone only, the Pin Number is the # key

Join us to learn how to hold a successful enrollment event. The Marketplace is open with coverage available as early as January 1.  We will share our guide to help with hosting enrollment events, show you key websites and answer your questions. Please send any questions to ACA101@hhs.gov before noon on November 20.

Getting Ready to Enroll Friends and Family in the Health Insurance Marketplace

November 24 at 3 pm EST
(2 pm CST, 1 pm MST, Noon PST)

To Join By Phone Only: Dial: Toll: +1 (646) 307-1706, Access Code: 305-433-557
For those joining by phone only, the Pin Number is the # key

Open enrollment starts on November 15, 2014 with coverage available as early as January 1, 2015. Learn how to share information about open enrollment with your friends and family over the Thanksgiving holiday. This presentation will discuss how to enroll in the Marketplace, key websites and resources on the law. Questions will be answered at the end of the webinar. Please send any questions to ACA101@hhs.gov prior to November 24 at Noon ET.

Affordable Care Act 101 Webinars for Small Employers, Including Nonprofit Organizations

The Small Business Administration (SBA), the Department of Health Human and Services, and Small Business Majority have teamed up for a free weekly webinar series where small employers can learn the basics of the Affordable Care Act and what it means for their organization and employees. Topics covered include:

  • Cost containment
  • The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit 
  • The new Health Insurance Marketplace 
  • Employer Shared Responsibility.

Webinar content will generally be the same each week. Below are the registration links for upcoming webinars in English and Spanish.

November 20, 2014 at 4 pm ET: Click to Register
December 4, 2014 at 4 pm ET: Click to Register
December 11, 2014 at 4 pm ET: Click to Register
December 18, 2014 at 4 pm ET: Click to Register

Spanish-language ACA 101 Webinars

November 18, 2014 at 4 pm ET: Click to Register
December 2, 2014 at 4 pm ET: Click to Register
December 16, 2014 at 4 pm ET: Click to Register

 Learn about the Health Insurance Marketplace & your new coverage options.

Nov
14
2014
by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Who makes a healthier lunch: Mom or school cafeteria? from CBS News
Lunches packed at home are generally not as nutritious as school lunches, a new study shows. Researchers compared more than 750 school meals with more than 560 packed meals given to pre-K and kindergarten students in three schools, analyzing them for nutritional value over five days.

Meet America’s oldest living vet. He smokes cigars, does yard work, drives and drinks whiskey. And he’s 108. from The Washington Post
Richard Overton, 108, is thought to be the oldest living veteran in the United States. But he’s as active as ever. On Tuesday, shortly after he served as grand marshal in Austin’s Veteran’s Day Parade, Overton was relaxing on the porch of his Texas home — the same house he bought when he returned from World War II (he paid $4,000 for the house, Austin Fox affiliate KTBC reported in May).

Artist Sven Sachsalber looks for needle in haystack from BBC News
Italian performance artist Sven Sachsalber is to spend the next two days trying to find a needle in a pile of hay in a Paris museum. The needle was hidden by the director of the museum, the Palais de Tokyo contemporary art gallery.

Touchdown! Comet Landing to Offer Clues to Solar System's Birth from National Geographic
Scientists "soft-landed" a space probe on a comet for the first time on Wednesday, capping a ten-year, four-billion-mile journey.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


                    

Nov
08
2014
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/affordable-care-act-open-enrollment-starts-november-15">Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment starts November 15!</a></h1>

The Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

If you haven’t enrolled in coverage by then, you generally can’t buy Marketplace health coverage for 2015 until the next Open Enrollment period for coverage the following year.

If you’re enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plan, your benefit year ends December 31, 2014. To continue health coverage in 2015, you can renew your current health plan or choose a new health plan through the Marketplace during the 2015 Open Enrollment period.

If you don’t have health coverage during 2015, you may have to pay a fee. The fee in 2015 is higher than it was in 2014 — 2% of your income or $325 per adult/$162.50 per child, whichever is more.

Enrollment and coverage start dates

During Open Enrollment, if you enroll:

  • Between the 1st and 15th days of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the next month.

  • Between the 16th and the last day of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the second following month. So if you enroll on January 16, your coverage starts on March 1.

For more information, visit HealthCare.gov!