Health foundation on mission for affordable care education - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Health foundation on mission for affordable care education

Matt Miller - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX 19) - The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati is beginning a public education effort to inform southwestern Ohio and northern Kentucky residents about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how it affects them.

The move comes on the anniversary of the passage of the law intended to make health care more available and affordable to more Americans. The Foundation also released its new March 2011 Ohio Health Issues Poll, or OHIP℠, that they say found nearly one year after the law was enacted, 2 in 3 Ohio adults surveyed said they don't understand how the changes in the law will affect them personally.

These findings mirrored a similar Kentucky survey conducted in December 2010 by the Health Foundation for Greater Cincinnati and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Nationally, a February 2011 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 1 in 5 think the Affordable Care Act has been repealed, while 1 in 4 said they aren't sure of the law's status . In fact, some sections of the Affordable Care Act have already been implemented, with more changes being phased in through 2019.

"Sections of the Affordable Care Act have already begun to take effect and the community needs information," said Kate Keller, senior program officer of the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati. "We want to help people understand changes coming and new benefits for which they may be eligible."

The Foundation says their education effort will focus on providing information to the community about the Affordable Care Act in easy-to-understand language. They say the information will help people better manage their own personal health care, and let them know where they can learn more.

Some elements now in effect, Keller said, directly affect consumers. They include new health insurance plans must cover children until age 26 and that new plans must pay for preventive care. In the next few years, key changes will include steps such as limiting patient out-of-pocket expenses and removing lifetime limits for essential heath benefits.

The Foundation's program will distribute information and publications through community organizations and include discussions with Greater Cincinnati community groups. The effort also will include a website with information about the new law, which will be updated to reflect any changes as they occur.

"We need to provide our clients with access to good, clear information about the Affordable Care Act, " said Tony Datillo, chief executive officer of Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services. "I feel strongly the efforts of The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati can help our clients understand the changes in the new law."

The group also says other key Ohio and Kentucky survey findings include:

  • 65% of Ohioans feel they do not have enough information about how the new health reform law will impact them personally.
  • 68% of Ohioans said the law has not had an impact on "me and my family", while 19% said the law's impact was negative and 9% said it was positive.
  • 73% of Kentuckians feel they do not have enough information about how the new health reform law will impact them personally.

Additional results from the OHIP and KHIP surveys can be found at http://www.healthfoundation.org/data_publications/healthdata.html

The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati is an independent non-profit dedicated to improving community health though grants, evaluation and education. The Foundation works in Cincinnati and 20 surrounding counties in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. More information can be found at www.healthfoundation.org, or by contacting Christine Mulvin, MTSC Director, Communications at: 513.458.6621 or email: cmulvin@healthfoundation.org.

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