Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Increasing Utah Taxpayers' Awareness around the Intersection of the Affordable Care Act and Tax Season

With the tax filing deadline almost 15 days away, we’re hoping you can help us share important reminders and tax filing tips with your readers. As you know, this year’s tax season is the first time tax filers will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns. Most tax filers will simply check a box to show they had health coverage all year. A fraction of taxpayers will take different steps, like claiming an exemption or ensuring they received the correct amount of financial assistance when they signed up for Marketplace coverage last year. A smaller fraction of taxpayers will pay a fee if they made the choice to not obtain coverage.

Image result for hhs acaBelow is important information Utah consumers need to know for this tax filing season. Links are provided to additional sources of background information and resources available to help tax filers. 

We hope that you’ll find this information useful as you cover the close of tax season. If you have questions, need additional information, or would like to arrange time to interview an official from the Administration, please contact press@cms.hhs.gov.

Sincerely,
HHS Office of Public Affairs

5 TIPS FOR TAXFILERS ABOUT HEALTH COVERAGE:

This year’s tax season is the first time tax filers will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns. Here’s what taxpayers need to know:


  1. Most people just need to check a box: Most tax filers – about 75 percent – will just need to check a box when they file their taxes to indicate that that everyone in their household had coverage for all of 2014. This applies to people who had health coverage through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, among other sources.
  2. If you had Marketplace coverage, you should have your Form 1095-A: Last year, millions of Americans used advance payments of tax credits to help lower the cost of their monthly health insurance premiums. Now that tax season is here, these individuals will need to ensure they received the correct amount of financial assistance when they file their tax returns. People with Marketplace coverage should have received an important statement in the mail from the Marketplace called a Form 1095-A.  If you’re still waiting for your 1095-A Form to arrive, check your marketplace account - most forms are available online. You can also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.
  3. If you didn’t have health coverage, use the exemption tool: While those who can afford health coverage but chose not to enroll may have to pay a fee, people who couldn’t afford coverage or met other conditions can receive an exemption.  A tool is available on HealthCare.gov can help people who didn’t have insurance last year understand if they might qualify for an exemption
  4. If you have to pay the fee, consider signing up for coverage through the Special Enrollment Period. Tax filers who have to pay the fee and who were unaware or did not understand the requirement to enroll in coverage can take advantage of an opportunity to purchase health insurance coverage through a special enrollment period. If tax filers do not purchase coverage for the remainder of 2015 during this special enrollment period (March 15-April 30), they will risk having to pay the fee again next year for the entire year when they file their 2015 income taxes.
  5. Help is available. Tax filers with questions about exemptions, the fee, the Special Enrollment Period, or Marketplace tax statements should contact the Marketplace Call Center. The call center is open all day, every day at 1-800-318-2596. Additional resources and  information for tax filers is also available www.healthcare.gov/taxes.

Monday, March 30, 2015

President Obama Is Coming to Utah

Image result for president obama
npr.org | http://kuer.org/post/president-obama-coming-utah

It’s official, President Obama is coming to Utah. He’s expected to fly into Hill Air Force Base where he will give a speech on the economy. Utah is only one of two states that Mr. Obama has not yet visited as president. 

Governor Gary Herbert is expected to greet Obama on his arrival.

“I hope to take the opportunity to talk to him about issues that are near and dear to our hearts. Some of the health care issues that we’ve debated here in this past legislative session that I hope that we can maybe get some answers to on capping costs so we don’t have a program we buy today that we can’t afford tomorrow.”

Herbert says he’s also looking forward to discussing public lands and energy development issues with the president.

After Friday’s visit, South Dakota will be the only state Obama hasn’t been to as president. 

Final Open Enrollment Numbers in Utah

Update provided by Utah Health Policy Project (UHPP) as of March 10,2015

2015 Open Enrollment Quick Facts

  • 140,612 Utahns enrolled in ACA Health Insurance
  • South Jordan, Lehi and St. George are enrolling the most Utahns in ACA in 2015
    • Rank 1 - South Jordan (84095) = 2,566 enrolled
    • Rank 2- Lehi (84043) = 2,450
    • Rank 3 - St. George (84790) = 2,192
  • Cities in Washington and Utah Counties saw a surge in ACA enrollment
  • Utah Children are enrolling in ACA insurance at 2.75 times the national average
    • Utah under 18 = 22%
    • U.S. under 18 = 8%
  • Children account for 1/3 of all Utahns who enrolled in ACA insurance in 2015
  • 88% of Utahns enrolling on healthcare.gov received a premium subsidy (123,739 Utahns received subsidies)
  • Over 90% Utahns could have found coverage for less than $100 a month on healthcare.gov
  • The average subsidy in Utah is $159/month reducing premium costs by an average of 63%.
  • In 2015, half of Utahns enrolling in ACA insurace on healthcare.gov are new customers. (49% newly enrolled, 51% re-enrolled)
  • In 2015, 25% of all Utahns re-enrolling on healthcare.gov switched their insurance plans.
For more information about enrollment facts, contact Jason Stevenson at UHPP at stevenson@healthpolicyproject.org 

If you are facing a tax fee for not having health insurance last year, you can still enroll.  Contact 2-1-1 for or Take Care Utah at www.takecareutah.org to reach a trained counselor to help you understand your new options and find affordable health care coverage.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Special Enrollment Period ends April 30


Millions of people have already signed up for 2015 coverage, and 8 out of 10 who enroll are getting financial help.

Don’t miss the chance to enroll in health coverage for 2015 if you owe the fee.


This is too important to put off. If you don’t have coverage for the remainder of 2015 you’ll risk having to pay the fee again next year for the portion of the year you don’t have coverage. If you don’t have health coverage for 2015, the fee is $325 per person or 2% of your household income – whichever is higher.

We hope you take advantage of this extended opportunity to get quality coverage this year.

The HealthCare.gov Team

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015 County Health Rankings Released

Health snapshots for nearly every county in all 50 states

The 2015 County Health Rankings examine 30 factors that influence health—including adult obesity rates, physical inactivity rates, access to exercise opportunities, and a food environment index that measures both food insecurity and access to healthy food.

This year's key findings report shows that 60 percent of the nation’s counties are seeing declines in premature death rates. On the other hand, this year’s report also reveals that almost one out of four children in the U.S. lives in poverty. The report also looks at income distribution within communities, as well as the links between income levels and health.

Learn about other national trends at countyhealthrankings.org 

RWJF.org

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Utah Navigators Ready to Help Those Fined for not Having Health Insurance

This tax season, Utahns who didn’t have health insurance last year may discover for the first time that they have to pay a penalty to the federal government. But they have an opportunity to sign up for insurance and avoid future fines.
Credit obamacarefacts.com

As Utahns prepare to file their tax returns this year, they will have to provide some information about their health coverage. If their income level is above the poverty line, then they will have to pay a fine of 95 dollars for every adult that doesn’t have insurance in the household, and 47.50 for every child.  Or 1 percent of their income, whichever is higher.

“For a lot of people, this will be the first time they’ve heard of the penalty for not having had health insurance,” says Randal Serr, Director of Take Care Utah, a state ACA enrollment organization. Serr says Utahns without health insurance can’t avoid the fine for their 2014 taxes, but they can still sign up this year and avoid additional fines for 2015. A new special enrollment period is underway for those facing penalties. Serr says there are more than 100 enrollment experts around the state ready to help.

“A lot of people are hearing about Obamacare and about the penalties and so forth, but most people don’t know that free help is available,” he says. “What we recommend is that they either call 211 or visit TakeCareUtah.org, and by doing that they can find local help, they can get their questions answered. Believe it or not, there are still quite a bit of misconceptions out there about Obamacare.”

The special enrollment period ends April 30th.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Office of Health Disparities Internship Opportunity


Agency
Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities

Duration
May 1 to August 31, 2015

Hours
15h/week 

Stipend
$12.00 per hour

Openings
One (1)

Description
Intern will engage in activities with African American community to promote and build support for outreach, health education, and access to public health programs and health care services. Assist in the planning of a community health program to reduce birth outcomes disparities among Utah's African American population.

Responsibilities
Intern will be responsible for tasks including but not  limited to, gathering quantitative and qualitative data, developing educational materials, producing reports, giving presentations, conducting outreach activities and other tasks as needed.

Requirements
-BS from an accredited U.S college or university in public health, community health, health promotion or related field. Currently enrolled students may also apply.
-Experience working with the African American community
-Knowledge of, and ties to, the Utah's African American community or ability to do so
-Must have own vehicle and current Utah driver's license
-Must attend mandatory orientation and trainings
-Disciplined, self-starter, flexible and able to work independently and with a team
-Good writing and communication skills

Location
Utah Department of Health, Highland Campus, 3760 South Highland Drive, Salt  Lake City. Some travel required, mostly along the Wasatch Front.

Application
Qualified applicants may send resume (no more than 2 pages) to Dulce Díez diez@utah.gov 

Description
Intern will engage in activities with African American community to promote and build support for outreach, health education, and access to public health programs and health care services. Assist in the planning of a community health program to reduce birth outcomes disparities among Utah's African American population.

Responsibilities
Intern will be responsible for tasks including but not  limited to, gathering quantitative and qualitative data, developing educational materials, producing reports, giving presentations,conducting outreach activities and other tasks as needed.

Requirements
-BS from an accredited U.S college or university in public health, community health, health promotion or related field. Currently enrolled students can also apply.
-Experience working with the African American community
-Knowledge of, and ties to, the Utah's African American community or ability to do so
-Must have own vehicle and current Utah driver's license
-Must attend mandatory orientation and trainings
-Disciplined, self-starter, flexible and able to work independently and with a team
-Good writing and communication skills

Location
Utah Department of Health, Highland Campus, 3760 South Highland Drive, Salt  Lake City. Some travel required, mostly along the Wasatch Front.

Application
Qualified applicants may send resume (no more than 2 pages) to Dulce Díez ddiez@utah.gov.
Additional information Explain (no more than one additional page) your experience with, and knowledge of, this specific community. Provide references and contact information for those references.

Deadline
Requested materials (resume and additional information) must be received before April 10, 2015 at 11:59 pm.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Exciting New Community Engagement, Assessment, and Design Resources

CDC’s Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI) 2015 is an interactive web application that produces health profiles for all 3,143 counties in the United States. Each profile includes key indicators of health outcomes, which describe the population health status of a county and factors that have the potential to influence health outcomes, such as health care access and quality, health behaviors, social factors (economic and social conditions that may directly or indirectly influence the health of people and communities) and the physical environment (the natural environment (air, water, and soil) and the built environment (safe and affordable housing, transportation, access to nutritious and affordable food.) The social factors and the physical environment are especially important because they represent the conditions in which people are born, live, work, and play. Key features include:


o   Summary Comparison Report – an “at a glance” summary of how a county compares with peer counties on the full set of Primary Indicator.
o   Indicator Description –info describing the significance of the indicator, source/years of data, methodology for creation, and any limitations.
o   Indicator Downloads – indicator values for each group of peer counties can be downloaded for further examination and analysis.
cid:image006.gif@01CC9C89.3176BEA0o   Populations – allows users to compare an indicator value for the entire population of a county with sub-populations defined by sex, age groups, and race/ethnicity, where data are available. This feature can be used to assist with identifying potential health disparities.
o   Census Tract Maps –identify vulnerable populations and potential health disparities by examining the geographic distribution of select social factor indicators within a county (by census tract).
o   Associated Indicators – these are indicators that are related to the primary indicator and may provide additional valuable information. For example, the primary indicator for educational attainment is on-time high school graduation rate. Associated Indicators include percent of adults without a high school diploma and percent of adults with an associate level degree or higher.

·         2014 Bicycling and Walking in the U.S. Benchmarking Report – The Report, a collaboration between CDC and the Alliance for Biking and Walking, includes new data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states, the 52 largest U.S. cities, and a select number of midsized cities. It combines original research with over 20 government data sources to compile data on bicycling and walking levels and demographics, safety, funding, policies, infrastructure, education, public health indicators, and economic impacts.

·         The Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse (BEPHC) is a resource for training at both the university and professional levels and a source for relevant news and information at this critical intersection of community design and health. It includes:
o   Professional Training directs professionals to webinars, primers, toolkits, organizations, and other online resources for self-directed learning.
o   Academic Training offers a full academic semester or individual modules for multidisciplinary instruction between public health and architecture, health impact assessment, planning and transportation engineering. It includes learning goals, units, reading, assignments, sample syllabi, and student reports. It also guides students on academic course offerings, specializations, certificates, and dual degree programs at US colleges and universities for architecture, health impact assessment, planning, and public health.
o   Glossary of over 1,100 terms from architecture, health impact assessment, planning, public health, and transportation engineering.
  
Key New or Upcoming Partner Resources

·         The Urban Land Institute just released the Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment. Developers, owners, property managers, designers, investors, and others involved in real estate decision making can use the report’s recommendations and strategies to create places that contribute to healthier people and communities. The toolkit builds on previous publications from the larger Building Healthy Places Initiative, which seeks to leverage the power of ULI’s global network of almost 33,000 members through the Toolkit and other projects like the Healthy Corridors Project designed to provide guidance on transforming isolated, auto-dependent roads and commercial strip centers into vibrant, safe, and healthy corridors.

·         AARP is developing a web-based Livability Indexto be released in mid- to late April, which will use nationally available data, incorporate mapping technology, quantitative measures, and public policies to assess the livability of communities. The Index will help users better understand their communities and make decisions about their future needs – informing policy development and community stakeholder participation. A community’s Livability Score will be based on measures of essential attributes in certain categories, also called domains, to determine the location’s degree of livability. Domains will include: 1) Environment, 2) Health, 3) Housing, 4) Neighborhood, 5) Transportation, 6) Civic & Social Engagement, and 7) Economic Opportunity. To receive launch notification sign up here: http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/livable-community-news-alerts/.

 Existing Tools in Community Engagement and Assessment from CDC

·         Principles of Community Engagement – Provides public health professionals, health care providers, researchers, and community-based leaders and organizations with both a science base and practical guidance for engaging partners in projects that may affect them. The primer also provides tools for those who are leading efforts to improve population health through community engagement.

·         Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) – PACE EH guides local public health officials and communities through a process to explore the broad physical and social environments that impact health and safety. The assessment process engages communities in a series of tasks to investigate the relationships among what they value, how their local environment impacts their health, and what actions are necessary to live safer and healthier lives.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation

Please join the Utah Association for Infant Mental Health (UAIMH) for Utah’s first official screening of:
The Raising of America: 
Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation
April 9 (from 6:30-9:00 pm)
Rowland School Beginning School
720 S. Guardsman Way, SLC

The Raising of America is a 5-part documentary that will be completed in its entirety in May, 2015. This film brings to light many of the challenges faced by America’s youngest children and their parents, examines root causes for these challenges, and offers possible solutions. Which solutions would work for Utah, the youngest state in the nation?

We invite all early childhood organizations and advocacy groups in Utah to join us as co-hosts.

We will be showing THE RAISING OF AMERICA SIGNATURE HOUR: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation, followed by a panel discussion. Here is a description of this hour-long episode:

The U.S. is a can-do nation. So why is child well-being in the U.S. so much worse than in other rich countries? How does what Paul Kershaw calls “the growing squeeze” on so many young families and caregivers—the squeeze for time, for money and for resources—“drip down” on their infants and young children, literally altering the wiring of their developing brains with potential long-term consequences for learning, earning and mental and physical health? How might we do better?

This hour-long episode interweaves the latest discoveries from neuroscience with the stories of families and communities struggling to provide the nurturing environments all babies and young children need to thrive—while too often hindered by social conditions that put their children on low developmental trajectories. It doesn’t have to be this way. If the nation aspires to a healthier, safer, better educated, more prosperous and equitable future, we must find a way to enable all our children the opportunity for a strong start now.

You can become an official partner of The Raising of America, via this website: http://www.raisingofamerica.org/join-campaign

ACA Cut The Ranks Of The Uninsured By A Third

A total of 16.4 million non-elderly adults have gained health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago this month. It's a reduction in the ranks of the uninsured the the Department of Health and Human Services called historic.

Those gaining insurance since 2010 include 2.3 million young adults aged 18 to 26 who were able to remain on their parents' health insurance plus another 14.1 million adults who obtained coverage through expansions of the Medicaid program, new marketplace coverage and other sources, according to the report from the department released Monday.

Image result for acaOfficials say the percentage of people without coverage has dropped about a third since 2012: from 20.3 percent to 13.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

"The Affordable Care Act is working to drive down the number of uninsured and the uninsured rate," Richard Frank, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS, told reporters. "Nothing since the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid has seen this kind of change."

Latinos, who traditionally have been least likely to have health coverage, have seen the largest drop in their uninsured rate, according to the report. The Latino uninsured rate fell 12.3 percentage points, from 41.8 percent to 29.5 percent. The uninsured rate for African Americans fell by nearly half, from 22.4 percent to 13.2 percent. The rate for non-Latino whites fell by just over 5 percentage points.

States that expanded the Medicaid program to 138 percent of the poverty line also saw large reductions in their low-income uninsured populations – an average of 13 percent among people with incomes under the new Medicaid threshold. States that haven't expanded the program still saw a decline, though not as large, of about 7 percent.

HHS officials said they expect to have better state-by-state breakdowns and estimates of the number of children covered later this year. The ACA turns five on March 23.

NPR Kaiser Health News

Special Enrollment Period: March 15 - April 30

HCGOV Thin Marketplace header 
The Health Insurance Marketplace is providing individuals and families who owe the fee when they file their 2014 taxes with one last chance to get covered for 2015.
The Special Enrollment Period begins today, March 15 and ends on April 30. During this time, you'll have the opportunity to enroll in health coverage for 2015 if you owe the fee.

Important: The fee for people who don’t have coverage increases in 2015. If you don’t have health coverage for 2015, the fee is $325 per person or 2% of your household income – whichever is higher.
We hope you take advantage of this extended opportunity to get quality coverage this year. 
The HealthCare.gov Team

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hayward Promise Neighborhood: Wrapping Children in Coordinated Educational & Health Supports from Cradle to College to Career

You are invited to a webinar hosted by the Federal Interagency Health Equity Team.
Ohio Webinar HeaderInspired by the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Promise Neighborhoods are place-based efforts, wrapping children in educational, social and health programs and supportive services from the cradle to college to career. Hayward Promise Neighborhood (HPN) was funded in 2012 to serve the Jackson Triangle in Hayward, California and/or students that attend six focus schools within the Hayward Unified School District. This webinar will discuss HPN’s cradle to college to career pipeline with an emphasis on its partnership with over ten agencies, led by California State University East Bay. This webinar will explain how HPN is improving educational outcomes by using existing resources and collaborating with programs such as Early Learning Services and Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center’s Promotores de Salud to operationalize a college-going culture. This collaboration enhances collective impact and supports education, health and safety equity. 
TOPIC
Hayward Promise Neighborhood: Wrapping Children in Coordinated Educational & Health Supports from Cradle to College to Career
SPEAKERS: 
Elson Nash, Team Lead, Promise Neighborhoods, U.S. Department of Education
Renee Sutton Herzfeld, Executive Director, Community Child Care Council of Alameda County; Director, Early Learning Network for Hayward Promise Neighborhood
Carlos Londono, Director of Health Education, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center
Lauren Pitcher, Communications Manager, Hayward Promise Neighborhood 
DATE: March 19, 2015
TIME3:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. EDT

Click Here for Full Abstract and Speaker Biographies: http:/tinyurl.com/HPNWEBINAR

Monday, March 9, 2015

One Year of Progress for Young Men and Boys of Color

Displaying
My Brother’s Keeper is the White House initiative announced by President Barack Obama a year ago, calling on all of us help close gaps in opportunity faced by too many young people, and boys and young men of color in particular.

The My Brother’s Keeper Task Force recently released a one-year progress report on the initiative and reports on the progress made during the first year.

Since September 2014, nearly 200 mayors, tribal leaders and county executives across 43 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the MBK Community Challenge and are partnering with more than 2,000 community-based allies.

Read more about community involvement and other MBK efforts in the one-year progress report here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

OHD TEMPORARY POSITION - Health Program Specialist I


TEMPORARY POSITION - Health Program Specialist I

Agency                       Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities

Duration                     April 6, 2015 - June 30, 2016

Hours                          20 - 25 h/week (including some evenings and weekends)

Salary                         $15.00 per hour   

Benefits                      No. This is a non-benefited position

Openings                   1

Description               
Assist in the planning, design, development and execution of a community health program to reduce birth outcomes disparities among Utah's Pacific Islander/Hawaiian Natives. 

Responsibilities       
The Health Program Specialist will be responsible for tasks including but not limited to, gathering quantitative and qualitative data, developing educational materials, producing reports, giving presentations, providing screenings, setting up and taking down screening stations, conducting outreach activities and other task as needed.

Requirements           
·        BS from an accredited U.S college or university in public health, community health, health promotion or related field
·        Experience working with the Pacific Islander/Hawaiian Native community
·        Knowledge of, and ties to, the Utah's Pacific Islander/Hawaiian Native community or ability to do so
·        Documentation of current immunizations
·        Must have own vehicle and current Utah driver's license
·        Must attend mandatory orientation and trainings

Location                    
Utah Department of Health, Highland campus 3760 South Highland Drive, Salt Lake City. Some travel required, mostly along the Wasatch Front

Application               
·        Qualified applicants may send resume (no more than 2 pages) to Dulce Díez ddiez@utah.gov
·        Additional information: Explain (no more than one additional page) your experience with, and knowledge of, this specific community. Provide references and contact information for those references. 

Deadline                    
·        Requested materials (resume and additional information) must be received before March 24 at 11:59 PM

Printable job posting available.