Welcome to the Illinois Health Matters Blog

What health reform means for the people of Illinois

A blog by IllinoisHealthMatters.org

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Health Care Reform Leadership Training for Faith Community and Communities of Color

Strong leaders are needed to speak out now about the development of an Illinois health insurance marketplace and expanding Medicaid, not cutting it.  

The Campaign for Better Health Care's Faith Caucus is inviting you to become a partner because, as a leader in the faith community or community of color, you can bring back the information to your congregation and community so they can join the effort for the full implementation of the new health care law (Affordable Care Act).  Your commitment will be to attend the next five trainings (one per month, each 3 hrs) and to follow through by mobilizing your communities. 

These trainings will help prepare you for a more active role in the pursuit of affordable, accessible and quality health care for everyone.  The leadership training series topics will include Organizing 101, Affordable Care Act, Marketplace, fundraising, legislative advocacy, messaging, social media, community engagement, leadership development, communications and resource development.

The initial five trainings will be held in Chicago, but we are seeking funding to provide trainings statewide.

Help make a difference in shaping our healthcare and the healthcare of those who need you to take action.

You can register by clicking this link.
August 28st, 2012
1-4 pm
Mercy Hospital
Great Room
September 19th, 2012
1-4 pm
St. Mary’s Hospital,
October 16th, 2012
1-4 pm
Mercy Hospital
Room 242
November 13th, 2012
1-4 pm
Mercy Hospital
December 11th, 2012
1-4 pm
Mercy Hospital
Mercy Hospital & Medical Center. 2525 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60616.
St. Mary’s Hospital, 2233 W. Division St.  Chicago, IL 60622 Parking across the Street–North of Division St.

Laura Leon
Director of Faith Initiatives
Campaign for Better Health Care

Monday, August 13, 2012

Who Has Pre-existing Conditions in Illinois?

A new study by Families USA has delved deep into Obamacare's patient protection provisions, which prevent anyone from being turned down or charged exorbitant rates for a pre-existing condition.

According to the study, over one in four Illinoisans under the age of 65 (the age where they become eligible for Medicare) have a pre-existing condition that could result in denial of coverage prior to the exchanges coming into effect in 2014. That's nearly 2.9 million people!

People with pre-existing conditions live in all counties in Illinois: the proportion of people affected ranges from 24.5 percent in Lake County to 31.1 percent in Jefferson, Marion, Randolph, and Washington Counties. One common factor is that pre-existing conditions tend to become more prevalent as we age: nearly half (49.2 percent) of adults aged 55 to 64 have a pre-existing condition that could lead to a denial of coverage. Right now, the presence of a pre-existing condition at any point in your life can be a reason for health insurance companies to discriminate against you.

To me, the implications are very clear: Obamacare gives people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable insurance. In fact, 59.5% of people with pre-existing conditions in Illinois are within the threshold (below 400% FPL) where either subsidies will be available to help them purchase health insurance or they will qualify for Medicaid. That's a tremendous relief for anyone without or in danger of losing their health care.

Also, as Families USA discusses in the study, not knowing what can happen with you or your family members' health insurance can result in "job lock" where one keeps an inferior job for fear of losing their coverage. Implementation of Obamacare will relieve that fear, and it could even lead to more people taking risks that were impossible before, such as starting a new business. This can lead to a more natural flow of the labor market and towards more job creation, giving Illinois an economic boost.

These are real benefits that people with pre-existing conditions, like me, can look forward to in 2014. In the meantime, IPXP, Illinois's temporary pre-existing conditions plan for the uninsured that was created and subsidized by Obamacare, is doing an incredible job as a stopgap measure to help us get through the next year and a half. I encourage you to spread the word about IPXP to ensure that everyone who needs to can take advantage of these benefits. As we can see from the Families study, there are a lot of Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions who have the chance to take advantage of a great program right now.

David Zoltan,
Guest Blogger, Illinois Health Matters