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White House Conference Call with CF Texas State Advocates Regarding ACA

Friday, July 12, 2013

As a volunteer State Advocate for Northeast Texas, I had the privilege to sit in on a conference call with the White House regarding the Affordable Care Act this afternoon.

The CF Foundation had been contacted last week to see if we would want to be on the call. I was very excited and hoped to gain more specific knowledge of how the new health care laws were going to affect our CF Community.

It turns out that the call wasn't just for those with CF but for anyone in Texas who interacts with the community regarding health care. Many of those on the call were a part of Health Care Centers or other organizations that help those in need. This makes sense why the call turned out not to be as helpful as I had hoped.

The two people on the call were Julie Rodriguez from the White House Office of Public Engagement and Marjorie Petty, Texas Regional Director Health and Human Services.
Before the call began, it was stated that the conference call was not intended for press purposes but for background information only.

Here a few things mentioned during the 30 minute Conference Call that I thought were interesting enough to share:

* Nearly 85% (8-10 out of 100 people) who already have insurance don’t have to do anything to take advantage of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (which include kids checkups, flu shots, mammograms, children being able to stay on their parent's health insurance until they are 26 year old, insurance rebates, etc.)

* There is a huge need to get the young and healthy to sign up for health insurance.


* The Affordable Care Act will take 4 years to be fully realized.

* There are 80 days remaining until enrollment begins on October 1, 2014.

* The public will be able to enroll through a variety of ways:
- A Call Center (1-800-318-2596),
- Online but with Assistance
- The Navigators (in-person assistance) Program
- Assistance from Hospital/Health Center Staff (in-person assistance)
- Online Directly
- Health Insurance Agents and Brokers

* Enrolling will also be available through Community Health Centers (Texas has 66 of them). Nine million dollars of funding is being spent to hire 200 new workers to help enroll people. This is important as it is known that about 51% of those who visit Health Centers are uninsured but eligible.

* The way to enroll online is through http://www.healthcare.gov (English Speaking) or https://www.cuidadodesalud.gov/es/ (Spanish Speaking)

* To get more resources about the Affordable Care Act, you can go to marketplace.cms.gov

I'm not sure how helpful this is to our Cystic Fibrosis community but I do know that the CF community is one of a vulnerable population so these changes are particularly important to our families, as to every American family. I will continue to update as I learn more about what all this stuff means for those like Bennett.

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