Last week marked the third anniversary since President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act. Faith and community leaders like you play an important role connecting members of your congregations and communities to the care they need. Please see our Featured Update for more information about how the Affordable Care Act benefits your congregants and community members right now. Throughout the year, we’ll continue our ACA 101 webinar series, which gives you the unique opportunity to interact directly with senior HHS staff and ask any questions you might have about the health care law.
March is also Women’s History Month. As HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius shared in her Statement on Women’s History Month, “Because of the Affordable Care Act, a new day for women’s health has arrived. Thanks to the health care law, millions of women are benefiting from expanded access to preventive services, such as mammograms and prenatal care, at no additional cost. And millions more will soon have access to the Health Insurance Marketplace – open enrollment starts Oct. 1, 2013 – where they can compare health plans based on benefits, quality and cost and choose the one that best fits their needs.”
In addition, our friends in the Jewish community begin observing Passover tonight. Last Wednesday, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger hosted the fifth annual National Hunger Seder in the U.S. Capitol. Joined by Members of Congress, representatives of the Obama Administration, members from a diverse group of faith traditions, and school children, participants discussed the fact that millions of Americans are still going hungry. This is especially true for women and children; according to the United States Department of Agriculture, 1 in 6 Americans live in a household that experiences hunger, including 16.7 million children. To download the MAZON-JCPA Hunger Seder Haggadah or a two-page insert with facts about poverty and hunger in America, click here.
As always, thank you for everything you do to ensure the health and well-being of individuals and families in your community.
Acacia Bamberg Salatti, Acting Director
Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
The Affordable Care Act Benefits Members of Your CommunityLast week was the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Thanks to the health reform law, new benefits and rights are protecting your congregants and community members right now.
The Affordable Care Act is bringing down costs across the system, holding insurance companies accountable and helping more families get the peace of mind that comes from having affordable health insurance. As the President has said from the start, Americans who like the coverage they currently have can keep it—and the law will give them a better value for that coverage by improving benefits and protections.
Today, insurance companies can no longer drop coverage for sick people or raise premiums at will. A total of 3.1 million young people have gained coverage under their parents’ plans and 6.1 million Medicare beneficiaries with the highest prescription drug costs have saved a total of $5.7 billion. Starting August 1, 2012, about 47 million women gained guaranteed access to additional preventive services without paying more at the doctor’s office.
And beginning next January, the law will finally end discrimination against people with pre-existing health conditions. No longer will 129 million Americans with health conditions ranging from asthma to cancer have to live in fear of seeing their rates hiked or getting locked out of the market. The law will also end discrimination against women based on their gender.
Even more Americans will gain access to affordable coverage when new Health Insurance Marketplaces open for enrollment on October 1 in every state, giving individuals, families, and small business owners a simple, convenient way to find coverage that fits their budget. With a single application, people will be able to see and compare all their coverage options. There will also be tax credits that could save people money on their premiums right away.
The health care law is providing security for millions of Americans. It’s bringing down costs in Medicare, Medicaid, and the private market after years of unrelenting increases. And it’s ensuring that millions more middle class Americans and people working their way into the middle class can get the basic security of affordable health coverage.
White House Names New Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood PartnershipsThe White House has announced that Melissa Rogers will serve as the Special Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Ms. Rogers previously served as director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School and as a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Ms. Rogers was the executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. In 2008, Baylor University Press published a casebook co-authored by Ms. Rogers, ‘Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court.’
In 2009, the President appointed Ms. Rogers to serve as chair of his inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In 2011, she was named to a subgroup of the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group. Ms. Rogers has testified before the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees. She earned her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Baylor University. We warmly welcome Melissa Rogers to her new position at the White House.
New Open Door Forum Created on the Health Insurance MarketplaceThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sponsors regularly scheduled “Open Door Forums" providing an opportunity for live dialogue between CMS and the stakeholder community at large. These forums are intended for all stakeholders who interact with CMS or work with consumers who rely on services that CMS provides.
They provide an opportunity for CMS to share current information about new initiatives and policies related to Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and the new Affordable Care Act benefits, and allow participants to ask questions for further clarification. The ultimate goal of these Open Door Forums is to foster strong collaboration and communication between CMS and a diverse spectrum of stakeholders.
To be notified when Open Door Forums are scheduled or when new information is posted to the website, you can subscribe using the link below labeled “Open Door Forum Mailing List Subscription.”
New CMS Website on the Health Insurance MarketplaceStarting this Fall, there will be a new way for people to buy health insurance - the Health Insurance Marketplace. The new CMS website will help the public get the latest resources on Medicaid Expansion and Exchanges. The website has many sections, including: Get updates, official resources, explore research, and news and events. To view the website, go to: http://marketplace.cms.gov/
Secretary Sebelius Using TwitterHHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently started using the social media tool, Twitter. You can follow the Secretary at @Sebelius. To tweet with agencies and departments within HHS, click on www.hhs.gov and Join the Conversation under Twitter Chatter.
HealthMap Vaccine Finder: Helping Adults Find the Vaccines They NeedBy Dr. Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health
February 14, 2013
When we talk about vaccines, most people think of “flu” or “childhood immunizations.” But there are actually a number of vaccines available to protect adults from serious infectious diseases and their long-term consequences. Adult vaccines can prevent diseases such as shingles, pneumonia and whooping cough. The HPV vaccine can prevent cervical cancer. And the hepatitis B vaccine also prevents the liver cancer that can develop as a result of chronic hepatitis B infection.
In the past many Americans faced financial barriers to immunization, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans now have free access to the vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices without co-payments or other cost-sharing requirements when those services are delivered by an in-network provider.
Despite the numerous benefits of vaccination, too many adults are not getting the protection that they need. So, starting this month, it will be even easier for adults to find where to get vaccinated. Now, you can just go online and enter an address or zip code and HealthMap Vaccine Finder will locate nearby immunization providers (including health clinics and pharmacies) that offer the vaccinations routinely recommended for adults. In addition to telling people where to get the flu vaccine, the HealthMap Vaccine Finder will now tell consumers where to find providers of 10 other vaccines, including:
Let’s Move Faith and Communities:Upcoming We Can! webinarsWe invite you to join Let’s Move Faith and Communities for a special series of on-line training opportunities that will equip health leaders to run the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) We Can! program in their communities. We Can! is a science-based national education program that provides parents, caregivers and communities with tools and strategies to help families improve food choices, increase physical activity and reduce screen time.
We Can! offers two core curricula:
In addition, earlier this month, First Lady Michelle Obama recognized two winning videos of the Let's Move! Communities on the Move Video Challenge for their terrific work to make their communities healthier. Watch the winning videos and check out Communities on the Move to see what other faith-based and neighborhood organizations are doing across the country to improve the health of their communities!
Medicaid Moving Forward Report AvailableThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released “Medicaid Moving Forward”, a report that identifies recent developments, opportunities available to states today, and upcoming activity that will help states improve and modernize their Medicaid programs. Sections on long term services and supports, new and improved business processes, and Medicaid program integrity will provide valuable tools and insights to states as they continue to build a Medicaid program that gives beneficiaries access to quality, affordable care. To view the report, please visit http://www.medicaid.gov/State-Resource-Center/Events-and-Announcements/Events-and-Announcements.html
Report Shows Slower Medicaid Spending GrowthThe 2012 Medicaid Actuarial Report released on March 1, 2013 contains good news. It shows that estimated Medicaid benefits spending will decrease by 1.9% per beneficiary from 2011 to 2012. This decline in per beneficiary spending is virtually unprecedented. Except in 2005-2006, when the cost of prescription drugs for Medicaid-Medicare dual beneficiaries shifted to Medicare Part D, Medicaid spending per beneficiary has never declined from one year to the next in the 47-year history of the program. Health care spending growth has generally been slow over the past few years, but Medicaid spending growth in 2012 is well below spending growth in the rest of the health care economy. To read the full blog, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/blog/2013/03/medicaid-report.html, to read the full report, visit: http://medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Financing-and-Reimbursement/Actuarial-Report-on-Financial-Outlook-for-Medicaid.html and to read a letter from Secretary Sebelius, please visit: http://medicaid.gov/State-Resource-Center/Events-and-Announcements/Downloads/Markell-and-Fallin-Letter.pdf
Essential Health Benefits RuleCMS has released a final rule on Essential Health Benefits. The rule outlines health insurance issuer standards for a core package of benefits, called essential health benefits, that health insurance issuers must cover both inside and outside the Health Insurance Marketplace. Through its standards for essential health benefits, the final rule also expands coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment, for millions of Americans.
Under the law, health insurance issuers must cover both inside and outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace a core package of items and services, known as “essential health benefits.” The Essential Health Benefits must include items and services within at least the following 10 categories:
Spotlight on Staff: Lisa CarrMy name is Lisa Carr and I am an Associate Director at the HHS Partnership Center. I am in charge of outreach and education on the health care law, the Affordable Care Act. I manage and am the speaker for the Health Care Law webinars, including the tours of www.HealthCare.gov, the Health Care Law 101 webinars and the more focused webinars, such as those on the Navigators and In Person Assisters. I partner with my colleagues at HHS in sponsoring Health Care Law 101 webinars in Spanish. I write articles for the newsletter that you are reading, I write a weekly Stakeholder Update, I give presentations at local and national conferences, and I update the Affordable Care Act and You section of our website (www.hhs.gov/partnerships).
The most exciting part of my job is sharing what the health care law means to people across this country. Over 24,000 have RSVPd for our webinars and over 11,000 people have attended them. We equip individuals to share the information with others, thus multiplying the impact. The health care law is helping millions of people now, from those with pre-existing conditions, to helping people get free cancer screenings, to providing basic consumer protections such as ending lifetime caps on coverage.
We hear stories of those who have benefited from our webinars on the health care law. Before the webinar they were uninsured, had major health challenges, and were concerned about their future. After the webinar, they were enrolled in affordable health insurance that covered their pre-existing conditions and their health and financial future were much brighter.
The health care law has made a big difference so far, but just wait until 2014! Starting on October 1, 2013, people will be able to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace. On January 1, 2014, health insurance coverage will begin. To learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace, sign up for more information and watch the video here: http://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/index.html.
As we celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, we look forward to partnering with you to make sure that every uninsured individual has affordable health insurance. New tools and resources are now available to explain the health care law to others. Tweet with HHS Secretary Sebelius to learn more by following her at @Sebelius and view our educational presentations on the health care law at http://www.healthcare.gov/news/brochures/.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Grants Forecast is a database of planned grant opportunities proposed by its agencies. Each Forecast record contains actual or estimated dates and funding levels for grants that the agency intends to award during the fiscal year. Forecast opportunities are subject to change based on enactment of congressional appropriations.As always, the final section of our newsletter includes an updated grants listing that faith-based and community non-profits can pursue. All of these grant programs are competitive. It is important to review the funding announcement thoroughly to ensure that the grant opportunity is one that is appropriate to your organization’s mission, size, and scope.
When funding is available and an agency is ready to accept applications, the agency will issue an official notice, known as a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), which will be available on how to apply.
Grants ListingsTitle: Research and Evaluation on Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of Elderly Individuals
Description: The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice (NIJ) seeks applications for funding of research and evaluation related to abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elderly individuals and residents of residential care facilities. Research proposed may be focused at the State, local, tribal, Federal, or juvenile criminal justice policy, and practice levels.
Eligibility: In general, NIJ is authorized to make grants to, or enter into contracts or cooperative agreements with, States (including territories), units of local government (including federally recognized Indian tribal governments as determined by the Secretary of the Interior), nonprofit and for-profit organizations (including tribal nonprofit and profit organizations), institutions of higher education (including tribal institutions of higher education), and certain qualified individuals. For-profit organizations must agree to forgo any profit or management fee. Foreign governments, foreign organizations, and foreign institutions of higher education are not eligible to apply.
Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement
Last Day to Apply: May 20, 2013
Grant is administered by the: U.S. Department of Justice
Title: Academic-Community Partnership Conference Series
Description: The purpose of this grant opportunity is to bring together academic institutions/organizations and community organizations to identify opportunities for addressing health disparities through the use of Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). The objectives of meetings conducted as part of this award will be to: (1) establish and/or enhance academic-community partnerships; (2) identify community-driven research priorities, and (3) develop long-term collaborative CBPR research agendas.
Eligibility: Non-profit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status are encouraged to apply. The opportunity is also available to various governmental entities, local organizations, for-profit groups and small businesses.
Link to Full Announcement: Link to Full Announcement
Last Day to Apply: October 17, 2014
Grant is administered by the: National Institutes of Health