CA Access NEWS
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April 2013

In this Issue: Advocate Advantage | Calendar | New Partners | In the News | Interesting Information | Contact Us

Health care law's big task: explaining it to consumers

By Jenny Gold
Kaiser Health News, April 6, 2013

Few consumers know what they will need to do to sign up for health insurance that they'll be required to have, and time and money to educate them may come up short.

When President Lyndon Johnson wanted to enroll seniors for the new Medicare program he had just signed into law, the story goes that his administration sent out workers on dog sleds to reach people in the remote Alaskan tundra. "The Forest Service even had rangers looking for hermits in the woods," recalled the late Robert Ball, Johnson's Social Security commissioner, in a documentary on Medicare's 40th anniversary.

The plan to insure as many as 27 million Americans under the federal health law beginning this fall will be the biggest expansion of health coverage since that launch. Millions will be eligible to shop for insurance in the new online marketplaces, which open for enrollment Oct. 1 with the coverage taking effect Jan. 1.

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The Advocate Advantage

Proper disposal makes a world of difference

By John Kehoe

As spring blossoms over the earth, so does the urge to do spring-cleaning. One of the growing challenges is what to do with medicine cabinet clutte, especially prescription medications. With an aging population, Medicare and the successful research and development of more medications, the amount of prescriptions in our medicine cabinets will continue to grow.

Now, as the numbers of insured patients will rapidly increase through the Affordable Care Act, there is an important challenge that faces all of us -- the proper disposal of unused medicines. Prescription drugs have defined shelf lives, after which the medicinal advantage of the original prescription is lost. Improperly disposing of expired and/or unused medicines can be a dangerous threat to our eco-system. It behooves us to take extraordinary care to see that these excess and outdated medicines are carefully disposed. There are many government agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), that are providing special days to collect medications.

The next DEA take-back day is April 27. Each of us can be good citizens by participating in this program and properly disposing of our unused and expired medications. The first step is to redact all information on the labels of the packaging. This is particularly important to preserve the personal identity of the patient. The next step is to find a convenient location. There are oftentimes, law enforcement entities that provide disposal drops and a procedure to collect the materials. Click here to identify these locations.

If such disposal efforts do not exist in your area, it is possible to do it ourselves. Do not put the medicines in the sink or toilet or throw it directly into the trash. I can't stress this enough. Instead, take the unused contents of the prescription drugs and mix them with coffee grounds or kitty litter. Add a little water to the mixture, then mix the contents thoroughly and place the contents in sealed bags. This offsets the medicines and helps us ensure a safe, clean environment. Then, throw the bags away in the normal manner.

Calendar

Check out our CPAT partner events occurring this month!

Medication Adherence 101

Wednesday
April 24, 2013

12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

2 Park Plaza, Suite 100, Conference Center
Irvine, CA 92614

Complimentary parking available on-site.

RSVP Required

Please RSVP to Lauren at (323) 466-3445 or e-mail lauren@cerrell.com

Please provide your name, organization, title, address, phone number, email address

Guest Speaker:

Christina Sochacki, R.N., J.D.,

Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs of Council for Affordable Health Coverage

CPAT is proud to co-host this event with:

Council for Affordable Health Coverage
the GREEN Foundation
Orange County Business Council

Medication Adherence 101

Thursday
April 25, 2013

11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Sacramento Convention Center
1400 J St, Room 204
Sacramento, CA 95814

Parking validation will be provided for the Memorial (14th and H) Streets City of Sacramento garage.

RSVP Required

Register here


Guest Speakers:

Christina Sochacki, R.N., J.D.,

Vice President, Legal & Government Affairs of Council for Affordable Health Coverage

Elaine Linn,

Sacramento Coordinator, National Consumers League

CPAT is proud to co-host this event with:

Council for Affordable Health Coverage
Script Your Future

Were you unable to attend a CPAT event? All program materials are housed on our website.

Would you like to see your organization's event listed? Contact Jason Dumont at jason@perrycom.com to help advertise your upcoming event.

New Partners

Join Now

Do you know a group who would be interested in joining CPAT? Please send your referrals to:

Northern California - Contact Jason Dumont at jason@perrycom.com

Southern California - Contact Brandon Stephenson at brandon@cerrell.com In the News

Survey: More employers confident they will maintain coverage despite ObamaCare

By Elise Viebeck
The Hill, April 10, 2013

Employers are increasingly confident that they will continue to offer healthcare coverage to their workers as ObamaCare is implemented, according to a new survey.

Seven in 10 employers said they will definitely continue to cover their workers, a 23 percent increase from last year, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans reported.

The survey answers some fears that employers would rather drop workers' health insurance and face fines than comply with new coverage requirements and other rules under the Affordable Care Act.

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Tax credits will help 3 million Californians pay for health insurance

By Kathy Robertson
Sacramento Business Journal, April 9, 2013

About 3 million Californians -- including 146,900 in the four-county Sacramento area -- will be eligible for premium tax credits to help them pay for health insurance next year, according to a new study by Families USA.

The subsidies will be paid directly to the health plans in which individuals and families enroll, offsetting the total cost of premiums. This way, they don’t have to lay out the money up front and go to the IRS to recoup some of it.

“The federal tax credits are a game changer,” Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said in a phone call with reporters Tuesday morning. “They make health insurance affordable to a huge number of individuals and families -- and they make it more affordable to people currently buying health insurance on their own.”

Every state will have a new insurance marketplace next year that will make it easier to get health coverage. The new exchanges, including Covered California, will help individuals and families find coverage that meets their specific needs. The tax credits will help people shopping there better afford coverage.

More data on the breakdown of beneficiaries in California is available at the Families USA website.

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Insurers see way to dodge federal healthcare law next year

By Chad Terhune
Los Angeles Times, April 2, 2013

A new fight is brewing over health insurance companies letting millions of Americans renew their current coverage for another year -- and thereby avoid changes under the federal healthcare law.

That may offer a short-term benefit for certain consumers and shield some of those individual policyholders from potentially steep rate increases. But critics say this maneuver could undermine government efforts to remake the insurance market next year and keep premiums affordable overall.

At issue is a little-known loophole in President Obama's landmark legislation that enables health insurers to extend existing policies for nearly all of 2014. This runs contrary to the widespread belief that all health insurance must immediately comply with new federal rules starting Jan. 1, when most provisions of the law take effect.

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Interesting Information

Committed to Patients, Health, and the Economy

April 9, 2013

New medicines have been an important part of transforming many diseases in recent years. They are putting rheumatoid arthritis into remission, greatly increasing the chances of survival for children with cancer, curing hepatitis in many patients, and reducing hospitalizations for HIV patients.

The biopharmaceutical industry is a dynamic, knowledge-driven sector. The work of its researchers brings hope to millions of patients and benefits to local and national economies. Biopharmaceutical companies invest heavily in research and development; in the past year, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) members surpassed the $500 billion mark in research and development (R&D) spending since 2000.

Developing a new medicine is challenging and the chances of success are extremely low, particularly in recent years. The 43 new medicines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 represented the highest total in 15 years, a proud landmark for an industry whose mission is to save and improve lives.

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