This is Public Health

Insurance

A new Commonwealth Fund survey finds that in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period, significantly fewer working-age adults are uninsured than just before the sign-up period began, and many have used their new coverage to obtain needed care.

The uninsured rate for people ages 19 to 64 declined from 20 percent in the July-to-September 2013 period to 15 percent in the April-to-June 2014 period. An estimated 9.5 million fewer adults were uninsured. Young men and women drove a large part of the decline: the uninsured rate for 19-to-34-year-olds declined from 28 percent to 18 percent, with an estimated 5.7 million fewer young adults uninsured. By June, 60 percent of adults with new coverage through the marketplaces or Medicaid reported they had visited a doctor or hospital or filled a prescription; of these, 62 percent said they could not have accessed or afforded this care previously.

Click here to read the full article and view the Infographic.

Medical Insurance

 

 

Good news for those in the state who may have been facing problems finding new insurance under the Affordable Care Act!

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has agreed to implement a federal health care act adjustment that could mean 93,000 Louisianians who were facing canceled health insurance policies might be able to keep their existing plans for another year.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana — which provides 60,000 of the 93,000 plans in jeopardy — has said it will try to extend all of the coverage that it had previously slated for cancellation, after Donelon’s decision. Donelon and the insurance company made their announcements Wednesday night (Nov. 27).

Click here to read the full story from NOLA.com.

Louisiana Map

Louisiana is one of the unhealthiest states in the country. According to the latest edition of America’s Health Rankings, Louisiana ranks 49 in overall health, ahead of only Mississippi.

Many Louisianians face barriers to accessing healthcare, which leads to poor health outcomes. Uninsured people are less likely to receive medical care and more likely to have poor health status. Health insurance facilitates entry into the healthcare system and can ultimately improve long-term population health outcomes.

When certain parts of the Affordable Care Act take effect later this year, there will be new ways for individuals, families and small businesses to access health insurance. Beginning Oct. 1, 2013, individuals in every state will be able to shop for health insurance and compare plans through newly established “marketplaces,” comparative shopping tools not unlike many of the web-based travel sites all of us frequent for deals on everything from airline tickets to rental cars.

Click here to review the five ways the new healthcare law impacts Louisiana specifically (www.healthcare.gov).

Health IT

The Greater New Orleans Health Information Exchange (GNOHIE), launched in late 2012 in the Greater New Orleans area, and its many partners was recently highlighted in the May/June issue of the Healthcare Journal of New Orleans. Check some of it out below. To read the full article, click here.

“In our ever more connected world, it makes sense that healthcare providers are increasingly exploring connectivity as a pathway to delivering quality care. Most hospitals, clinics, and even private practices are adopting electronic health records (EHRs) to better track patient information and in many cases provide patients with improved access to both that information and their healthcare providers between visits. In some cases, providers have agreed to adopt the same electronic health record (EHR) to improve communication as patients move between care settings, but for the most part, physicians and healthcare facilities have shopped for and implemented a wide variety of EHRs based on a number of factors, such as cost, ease of implementation, user friendliness, and more. So while they may have improved quality and efficiency within their own practice, they remain part of a fragmented system of healthcare delivery that few believe is best for patients, providers, quality or cost containment.”

To continue reading, click here.

To learn more about the GNOHIE, click here.

To learn more about LPHI’s work, click here.

Healthcare.gov has been relaunched recently.  Check it out for new information about the Marketplace section, where families and small businesses will be able to easily compare and purchase high-quality health insurance plans starting October 1, 2013, with coverage beginning January 1, 2014.

The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) has announced several public-private partnerships that will enable the Interim LSU Hospital, the new University Medical Center, Leonard J. Chabert Medical Center in Houma, and the Lafayette General Medical Center to continue operating and potentially avoid any more cuts in the near future.

Click here to read the full story from the Times-Picayune/NOLA.com.

The FDA has issued an alert warning about risks, including death, associated with endovascular treatments for multiple sclerosis based on the controversial theory that the disease is caused or exacerbated by blocked cerebrospinal veins.

Called chronic cerebrospinal vascular insufficiency (CCSVI), the theory has polarized the MS community since an Italian researcher proposed it in 2009. Many patients and some physicians immediately embraced it, but most mainstream neurologists have been deeply skeptical.

Read the full release from the FDA.

 

medical-check-up

The CDC recently reported that about 2.5 million young people have received health insurance coverage as a result of health care reform measures that President Barack Obama signed into law last year. That means that about 2.5 million more people, aged 19 to 25, have health insurance than had it before the law took effect because of a provision that lets young adults remain on their parents’ insurance plans through age 26.

Check out the full story on CNN’s Health section.

stethoscope

A landmark study published on July 7th by the National Bureau of Economic Research marks the first time that Medicaid has been rigorously proven to improve the wellness and financial stability of low income Americans. The study shows that those with Medicaid are more likely to be admitted to a hospital, have access to prescription medicine, and feel good about their health. While the findings may seem obvious, policy makers have long questioned whether Medicaid is beneficial. When an unfortunate economic difficulty forced Oregon to accept new Medicaid applicants based on lottery, investigators made the best of the situation by comparing the health outcomes of those who were randomly selected to receive Medicaid with those who were not. The findings come at a pivotal time: right in the midst of ongoing health care debates. Read more about the benefits of providing medical insurance to low-income Americans.

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Beginning September 23, a new national law will require health insurance companies to cover many forms of preventive care free of charge. Under the new rules, co-payments, deductibles, and all other charges will be eliminated for health interventions designed to catch diseases before they develop into serious conditions. Some of the services that the law will cover include medical tests for blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol, screenings for cancer, HIV, obesity, and depression, routine vaccinations, prenatal care, regular wellness visits for infants and children, and counseling to help people stop smoking. One of the main motivations for the law is that people currently use only half as much preventive care as experts recommend. Read more.