Enrolling people In Obamacare who have no ‘concept of insurance’

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Nagat Sahouba, a medical assistant for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, takes down a client's information for an appointment in the center's clinic in Dearborn, Mich. on Aug. 7, 2014 (Photo by Marissa Evans/KHN).

Nagat Sahouba, a medical assistant for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, takes down a client’s information for an appointment in the center’s clinic in Dearborn, Mich. (Photo by Marissa Evans/KHN).

By Marissa Evans
KHN Staff Writer

DEARBORN, Mich.–Signing people up for health insurance is the easy part of Rawha Abouarabi’s job ministering to immigrants and Arab Americans in this manufacturing hub along the Rouge River.

But many of those she’s enrolled are surprised and indignant when they go to the doctor and are asked to a pay a bill— perhaps a copayment.

They insist they’ve already paid their monthly insurance premium.

“They call us and say, ‘it’s a scam’,” says Abouarabi, an insurance navigator for the Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services (ACCESS), a nonprofit agency that specializes in helping the largest Arab-American population in any U.S. city.

“This whole concept of insurance doesn’t exist in the Eastern world.”

That’s just one example of the confusion immigrants face as they try to navigate the U.S. health care system. Even after signing up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, advocates find that explaining to clients that they will still have to pay out of their own pockets each time they go to the doctor or get lab tests requires more than translating words like “premium” and “deductible” for non-English speakers.

“This whole concept of insurance doesn’t exist in the Eastern world,” said Madiha Tariq, public health manager for ACCESS. “People are always confused about the health care system when they come to this country.” Continue reading

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Health news headlines – September 3rd

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Global health news – September 3rd

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More GOP-led states move towards expanding Medicaid

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ACA health reform logoBy Phil GalewitZ
KHN

Who’s next?

With the long-awaited deal to expand Medicaid finally struck last week between Pennsylvania and the Obama administration, 27 states and the District of Columbia have adopted a key coverage plank of the Affordable Care Act.

And the momentum continues to grow in Republican-led states as Tennessee and several others look to expand coverage to low-income residents in 2015.

Indiana has an expansion plan pending with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, said he plans to submit a plan later this year, although state Republican leaders warn it will be difficult to win legislative approval.

Obamacare proponents say the more states that expand Medicaid, the more pressure will be on reluctant state officials to come on board.

.Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, also a Republican, said he will present an expansion plan to his legislature early next year. Continue reading

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Serving High-Need, High-Cost Patients – Commonwealth Fund video

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People with complex, long-term health care needs, and those living in poverty, often struggle the most to get their needs met. In this video, The Commonwealth Fund’s Melinda Abrams and Mark Zezza, along with Jennifer DeCubellis of Hennepin County Health in Minneapolis, talk about new models of care that can help health care providers improve the health and health care of their high-need patients, while also lowering costs. They also explain how focusing on these patients has the potential to improve care for all Americans.

To learn more visit The Commonwealth Fund’s website.

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Infertility patients finding creative financing help

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IVF egg thumbBy Michelle Andrews
KHN

Infertility treatment is a numbers game in some respects: How many treatments will it take to conceive a child? And how much can you afford?

Even as insurance plans are modestly improving their coverage of such treatments, clinics and others are coming up with creative ways to cover the costs to help would-be parents reduce their risk  for procedures that can run tens of thousands of dollars.

Some even offer a money-back guarantee if patients don’t conceive. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – September 2nd

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Global health news – September 2nd

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CDC issues advice for colleges, universities, and students about Ebola in West Africa

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West Africa

From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For Colleges and Universities

Advice for Study Abroad, Foreign Exchange, or Other Education-related Travel

Is it safe to travel to countries where the Ebola outbreaks are occurring (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria)? What should we do if we have study abroad, foreign exchange, research, or other education-related travel planned to these countries? Continue reading

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Small Firms slow to embrace business exchanges

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Photo by Sanja Gjenero

Photo by Sanja Gjenero

By Christine Vestal
Stateline

Unhappy with the choices her insurance broker was offering, Denver publishing company owner Rebecca Askew went to Colorado’s small business health insurance exchange last fall.

She found exactly what she’d been hoping for: affordable insurance options tailored to the diverse needs of her 12 employees.

But Askew is in a tiny minority. Only 2 percent of all eligible businesses have checked out so-called SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) exchanges in the 15 states where they have been available since last October under the Affordable Care Act. Even fewer purchased policies.

So far, 15 states, including Washington state, and the District Columbia have set up SHOPs.

In November, three more state-run SHOP exchanges are slated to open, and the federal government will unveil exchanges for the 32 states that chose not to run their own.

SHOP exchanges were supposed to open nationwide on Oct. 1, the same day as exchanges offering health insurance for individuals.

But the Obama administration postponed the SHOP launch, citing the need to fix serious technical problems with the exchanges for individuals, which it said were a higher priority. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – September 1st

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Global health – September 1st

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Women’s health – Week 51: Traumatic Brain Injury

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tacuin womenFrom the Office of Research on Women’s Health

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden force, such as from an explosive blast or an automobile accident, causes damage to the brain.

TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.

In most of these cases, the skull remains intact and the damage is believed to be caused by a pressure wave of the explosion’s concussive force passing through the brain.

Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. Continue reading

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Health news headlines – August 31st

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Global health news – August 31

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