Pennsylvania Health Law Project: Helping People in Need Get the Health Care They Deserve

PHLP Receives Award from the Barra Foundation

PHLP is proud of our work and the support we receive to aid people in distress: people whose physical and mental well-being are compromised by illness and who need help gaining healthcare coverage or getting the healthcare they need with their existing coverage. 

Last week, the Barra Foundation awarded PHLP a Community Fund grant to “acknowledge and advance exemplary nonprofit organizations serving Greater Philadelphia by providing unrestricted grants to support their work.” Organizations must be nominated and then chosen by a committee based on their demonstration of outstanding leadership, performance and adaptability. More information about the award can be found here.  

It is a privilege to do this work and we thank the Foundation and all supporters for helping to make it possible.

PHLP Hosts Outreach and Enrollment Conference in Northeastern PA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) extends new, federally subsidized coverage to hundreds of thousands of middle-class and low-income Pennsylvania residents. Yet as the October 1 start date of enrollment nears, many remain in the dark about how the new law will affect them and how to get coverage.

On September 11th, PHLP, Enroll America and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health hosted a conference on the policy and implementation issues affecting health insurance coverage in Pennsylvania. Presenters included Roseanne Egan, the Deputy Regional Administrator of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, who gave an overview of the Affordable Care Act & its associated federally-facilitated marketplace, as well as Bill England, Pennsylvania State Director for Enroll America, who discussed the challenge of reaching and educating eligible uninsured persons in the state. The conference also included a presentation by Michael Williams, Statewide Director of Outreach and Enrollment at the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC), who explained the role of Navigators and Certified Application Counselors.

Event sponsors included AmeriHealth Northeast, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Community Care Behavioral Health, CoventryCares from HealthAmerica, and Geisinger Health Plan.  For the full conference agenda, click here.

Bill England of Enroll America presents on the challenges of finding and educating eligible uninsured persons in Pennsylvania.

PHLP Presenting at Statewide Conferences

PHLP staff will be leading several workshops about applying and enrolling in health insurance at two upcoming conferences: 

First, the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) is hosting a 2013 Public Benefits Law Conference October 3-4, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harrisburg.  Staff at any organization that helps vulnerable clients access health, utilities, or cash assistance is welcome to attend.  The registration deadline is September 24th.  Full information on the conference is available on the PLAN website.

PHLP will also be presenting at the 2013 Conference and Clinical Summit at the Pennsylvania Association of Community Health Centers (PACHC), October 8-10, 2013 in Lancaster. For the agenda and registration information, click here.
Client Spotlight: PHLP Helps Client Keep Coverage for Chemotherapy

For people with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, health insurance is a lifeline. But keeping that necessary coverage is not always easy.

Arthur Masters was shocked when, in the middle of a chemotherapy protocol for pancreatic cancer, his oncologist’s office told him he lost his health coverage (Medicaid). Mr. Masters, a 57-year-old resident of Lackawanna County, had not received any notice from the local county assistance office that his health insurance would end. He was scheduled for chemotherapy the next day!

Distraught, Mr. Masters’ wife contacted PHLP. Our staff immediately contacted the county assistance office. A supervisor conceded that the office had not properly notified the family and reinstated the coverage. PHLP also counseled Mr. Masters on eligibility for another type of health insurance coverage: Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD). For a small monthly premium, MAWD provides health insurance to individuals who are disabled due to chronic health problems and who are employed.

When PHLP relayed the news to Mr. Masters’ wife that her husband’s coverage would be reinstated, she burst into tears of gratitude, telling PHLP that the organization should be “reward[ed] one hundred times” for helping people like her husband access needed health care.

Maintaining essential health care for vulnerable populations is reward enough, but support (large and small) is always welcome!

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 What We're Reading

Against All Odds: How a Medicaid Waiver Brought Our Critically Ill Daughter Home, Health Affairs, September 2013

Potential Adult Medicaid Beneficiaries Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Compared with Current Adult Medicaid BeneficiariesAnnals of Family Medicine, September/October 2013

Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012, U.S. Census Bureau, September 2013

Premium Subsidy Scenarios Under Obamacare, Journal of the American Medical Association, September 18, 2013

Healthy PA and Medicaid Reform Proposal, Gov. Tom Corbett, September 16, 2013

States Balk At Terminating Medicaid Contracts Even When There’s Fraud Or Poor Patient Care, Kaiser Health News & The Washington Post, September 15, 2013

The Plot to Kill Obamacare, New York Magazine, September 15, 2013

Letter to Gov. Corbett, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, September 6, 2013

Kids With Costly Medical Issues Get Help, But Not Enough, NPR & Kaiser Health News, August 26, 2013

Helping Consumers Understand the New Premium Tax Credit, Consumers Union, May 15, 2013
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The Pennsylvania Health Law Project is a nationally recognized expert and consultant on access to health care for low-income consumers, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. PHLP engages in direct advocacy on behalf of individual consumers while working on the kinds of health policy changes that promise the most to the Pennsylvanians in greatest need.
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