SECURE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR YOURSELF OR YOUR LOVE ONES: A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD FOR HEALTH CARE COVERAGE DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

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According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, individuals can enroll in Marketplace health coverage February 15 through May 15 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency. A person may also still be able to enroll for 2021 any time these two ways: with a Special Enrollment Period or through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). For more information about Special Enrollment Periods for Health Insurance Coverage via the Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, please visit https://www.healthcare.gov/coverage-outside-open-enrollment/special-enrollment-period/.

According to an Issue Brief (August 19, 2020) from the Commonwealth Fund, during the first half of 2020, 43.4 percent of U.S. adults ages 19 to 64 were inadequately insured. The adult uninsured rate was 12.5 percent. In addition, 9.5 percent of adults were insured but had a gap in coverage in the past year and 21.3 percent were underinsured. According to 2012 data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, an estimated 15.8% of Alabamians are without health insurance coverage. 15.8% of uninsured Alabamians are ages 65 or older, while 15.5% of Alabamians without health coverage were between ages 40 – 64 years of age. Among the uninsured, 19% were African American and 34.6% were persons from Latino/Hispanic ethnicity.

Health Insurance Coverage is a significant resource to have in your life and the lives of your loved ones! Through the Marketplace created through the Affordable Care Act, health plans cover:

  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization (like surgery and overnight stays)
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (but adult dental and vision coverage aren’t essential health benefits)

Plans may also cover:

Additionally, plans in various states may include: Dental coverage, Vision coverage, and/or Medical management programs (for specific needs like weight management, back pain, and diabetes). Start your process of gaining health coverage today by visiting Healthcare.gov to learn more about healthcare coverage and encourage your loved ones to the same.


Newsletter – SOPHE Community of Practice on Healthy Aging | February 12, 2021

By Jun Wang, Intern & UAB Community Health & Human Services Student

Photo by Dimitri Dim on Pexels.com

Title: CDC: 2 Face Masks Protect Better Than One
Brief Description: With the discovery of new, faster-spreading coronavirus strains in the U.S, it might be time to double down on face masks literally by wearing two at a time. Layering a cloth mask over a disposable medical procedure mask significantly boosts your protection against the coronavirus by ensuring a tighter fit against your face, a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows. The CDC recommends that choose a mask with a nose wire which prevent air from leaking out along the top. The mask should fit snugly over your nose, mouth, and chin. Also consider a KN95 mask but do not wear another with it.
Link to resource: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/double-masking-against-covid.html

Title: Substance Use Is a Critical Health and Mental Health Issue for Older Adults
Brief Description: The magnitude of the pandemic’s mental health toll on families and communities has increased. The year’s events underscore the importance of focusing on substance use, a critical health and mental health issue for older adults. Based on recent data, a jump of 11.9 percent from 2012 to 2017 in substance use in adults age 65 and older. The rate of prescription for many medications, including opioids for chronic pain are highest as 26.8 percent for people age 65 and older. In 2020, the frequency of alcohol consumption in adults during the pandemic increased by approximately 14 percent along with report of anxiety and depression.
Link to resource: https://generations.asaging.org/substance-use-critical-health-issue-elders


Newsletter – SOPHE Community of Practice on Healthy Aging | February 5, 2021

By Jun Wang, Intern & UAB Community Health & Human Services Student

Photo by Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

Title: Warning Signs of a Heart Attack
Brief Description: Pay attention to your body and catch the signs early. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Call 911 if you experience chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness. Men and women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort, but the women are more likely to experience some other common symptoms than men. Do not hesitate to call 911 while experiencing any symptoms. Minutes matter and fast action can save lives.
Link to resource: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack

Title: CDC Stresses COVID-19 Safety Ahead of Super Bowl
Brief Description: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines on attending Super Bowel celebrations or watch parties, though what is recommends most is that people stay home rather than risk exposure to the coronavirus. For snacks, the CDC recommends people bring their own food and drinks, and avoid self-serve or buffet-style food options. Use disposable utensils and single-wrapped packets of salad dressing and condiments. The CDC advises that limit alcohol consumption to protect self against COVID-19. The CDC also advises that an outdoor event is likely safer than an indoor gathering, and that the fewer people who attend, the better.
Link to resource: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2021/cdc-discourages-super-bowl-parties.html

Title: Why older adults should quit tobacco and how they can
Brief Description: There are proven health benefits in quitting tobacco use in older adult smokers. Quitting tobacco use can lessen the risk of cognitive decline and brain atrophy, and prevent polypharmacy arising from the management of complex morbidities associated with smoking. Healthcare staff play an important role in helping older adult smokers to abstain from smoking. Multiple approaches can be used to deliver evidence-based tobacco cessation treatments to the geriatric population. With ongoing support from healthcare teams, older adults who smoke can improve their chance of successfully quitting tobacco use, resulting in better quality of life.
Link to resource: https://generations.asaging.org/older-adults-should-quit-tobacco-how-they-can

Title: Coronavirus precautions for patients and others facing higher risks
Brief Description: Older people with coronary heart disease or high blood pressure are more likely to contract the coronavirus and develop more severe symptoms. According to data from several cities and counties, the black people had higher death rate from COVID-19. Many black people are already vulnerable to cardiovascular and stroke risks. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the best way to do that is to stick to the simple things we know can stop the spread of the coronavirus: wear masks or cloth face covering, social distancing, hand washing, etc.
Link to resource: https://www.heart.org/en/coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-resources/coronavirus-precautions-for-patients-and-others-facing-higher-risks 

Title: U.S. commemorates 57 consecutive American Heart Month in February
Brief Description: February is the American Heart Month that spotlights heart disease over the nation. The heart disease is still the No. 1 killer among American. This year, the federally designated event is more important due to the impact of the coronavirus on the public’s heart health, including potential harmful effects on the heart and vascular system. Due to this pandemic, many people have delayed or avoided going to hospitals for heart attacks and stroke which caused poorer outcomes. The AHA creates “Don’t Die of Doubt,” a national awareness campaign that reminds people that hospitals are the safest place to go when you have symptoms. Heart disease is preventable when people adopt a healthy lifestyle in most cases.
Link to resource: https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/february-is-american-heart-month

Title: Combination of healthy lifestyle traits may substantially reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk
Brief Description: Combining more healthy lifestyle behaviors was associated with substantially lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease in a study that included data from nearly 3,000 research participants. Those who adhered to four or all of the five specified healthy behaviors were found to have a 60% lower risk of Alzheimer’s. The behaviors were physical activity, not smoking, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, a high-quality diet, and cognitive activities. Funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, this research was published in the June 17, 2020, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Link to resource: https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/combination-healthy-lifestyle-traits-may-substantially-reduce-alzheimers-disease-risk