Posts belonging to Category Affordable Care Act



The Affordable Care Act and Women

affordable care act

The following information from HHS.gov/Health Care provides an overview of the coverage and services available to women now, and beginning in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

Applicable Now Under the Affordable Care Act

  • 26.9 million women with private health insurance gained expanded preventive services with no cost-sharing in 2011 and 2012, including mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, flu and pneumonia shots, and regular well-baby and well-child visits.
  • As of August 1, 2012 many health plans now cover additional preventive services with no cost-sharing, including well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening, breastfeeding supplies and contraceptive services.
  • 24.7 million women enrolled in Medicare received preventive services without cost-sharing in 2011, including an annual wellness visit, a personalized prevention plan, mammograms, and bone mass measurement for women at risk of osteoporosis.
  • 1.1 million women between ages 19 and 25 who would have been uninsured have coverage under their parent’s employer-sponsored or individually purchased health insurance plan.
  • More than 2 million women enrolled in Medicare saved $1.2 billion in 2011 due to improvements in prescription drug coverage.
  • Major federal investments in care innovations such as community health teams are improving the management of chronic diseases, which are prevalent among women.

 Applicable in 2014 and Thereafter Under the Affordable Care Act

  • An estimated 8.7 million American women currently purchasing individual insurance will gain coverage for maternity services.
  • Insurance companies in the individual and small group markets will no longer be permitted to charge higher rates due to gender or health status.
  • 18.6 million uninsured women will have new opportunities for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • State Medicaid programs will be able to offer more opportunities to women who need personal assistance or long-term care and wish to stay at home and in the community, rather than enter a nursing home.

Last Updated: July 30, 2013

 

Parents Underestimate the Calories in Fast Food Meals

At a recent meeting of the Obesity Society Jason Block, MD, of Harvard Medical School and fellow researchers reported that parents often underestimate the calories their school-age kids are consuming when they eat large meals at fast food restaurants.

caloriesAccording to the study, the average meal purchased  in four New England cities contained 733 calories, and 21% contained more than 1,000 calories, But the parents estimated an average of only 562 calories per meal, with 72% underestimating the actual content. “There was an association between larger meals and larger underestimations, which may hold some promise for menu labeling,” Dr. Block said. He noted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide post calorie information on their menus.

The researchers found that only 15% of parents saw nutritional information in the restaurants and fewer still (4%) used that information when ordering. “So they may not use it even if it’s more accessible,” Block stated.

Last year at the society’s annual meeting, Dr Block reported that 80% of adolescents in Boston, Springfield, Mass., Providence, R.I., and Hartford, Conn., underestimated the amount of calories their fast food meals contained and 86% did not notice any nutritional information in the restaurants.

In the current study, Block and his colleagues visited 10 restaurants in each of the four cities… three McDonald’s, three Burger King, two Subway, one KFC, and one Wendy’s. Each restaurant was visited six times at dinnertime.

Those participating in the study included parents or legal guardians of children and teens, ages 3 to 15 (mean age 7.9). The analysis included 330 families, representing 45% of those who were approached.

Most of the children (57%) were overweight or obese. The sample was ethnically diverse — 33% black, 30% Hispanic, 19% white, 3% Asian, and 15% other or multiracial.

The researchers collected receipts when the parents left the restaurants and administered a short survey about the calorie content of the meal and awareness and use of the nutritional information. The actual calorie content of the meals was calculated using the receipts and information on the restaurants’ websites.

Many of the parents purchased large meals for their children and most underestimated the calorie content. Nearly one-quarter (24%) underestimated the calorie count by at least 500.

Those who underestimated the daily requirement tended to also underestimate the calories in a meal, a finding that “supports an anchoring statement on menus,” Block said. The federal regulations require that, in addition to calorie information, menus must include an anchoring statement describing the typical daily calorie requirement.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Seed Grant.

Source: The Obesity Society

 

What Do You Know About Asthma?

asthmaMay is Asthma Awareness Month. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebeliusa issued a statement asking us to consider what we can do better, as individuals and as a nation, in managing one of the most common lifelong chronic diseases.

In her statement she reports:

  • More than 25 million Americans have asthma, including 7 million children.
  •  Children with asthma missed more than 10 million days total of school in 2008.
  • Medical expenses associated with asthma are estimated at $50 billion annually.
  • It is critical to take the necessary steps to reduce asthma attacks.
  • Successful asthma management includes: knowing the warning signs of an attack, avoiding things that may trigger an episode and following the advice of your health care provider.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is working to raise awareness about asthma and to provide tools to help families and communities get the information they need:

  • Having access to high-quality affordable health care is a must for asthma suffers.
  • As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the 7 million children who have asthma cannot be denied health coverage now by insurance companies on the basis of a pre-existing condition. In 2014, that fundamental protection will be afforded to adults with asthma as well.
  • We know that African-American children visit emergency departments for asthma care more often than Caucasian children, and that Latino children are less likely to see a doctor for routine office visits than non-Latino Caucasian children. While we’ve made progress in reducing disparities over the years, more needs to be done. That is why the health care law and Recovery Act investments are expanding the capacity of community health centers to care for the most vulnerable Americans regardless of their ability to pay.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with communities and schools to develop the tools they need to make their environments healthier for children with asthma.  Three Louisiana school districts, for example, have adopted indoor and outdoor air policies, such as requiring school buses to turn off their engines while idling. Rhode Island families have gotten help in learning how to manage their children’s asthma from the new Home Asthma Response Program, which identified potential participants during asthma-related emergency room visits.
  • The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program–coordinated by the National Institutes of Health–promotes improved asthma care and control through a focused outreach effort centered on written asthma action plans.  These plans are a recommended but underutilized tool for managing asthma long-term and handling symptoms. These efforts include coordination with other federal agencies and key stakeholders and activities to promote resources and educational materials.

Secretary Sebeliusa concludes her statement by asking that we all learn what each of us and our communities can do to reduce the physical, social, and financial costs of asthma.

For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/ and http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/naepp.