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

PHLP Hosts Outreach & Enrollment Conference

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) extends new, federally subsidized coverage to hundreds of thousands of middle-class and low-income Pennsylvania residents. Yet according to polling done for Enroll America, 73 percent of those eligible have no idea it’s coming. It will take a wide-ranging education and outreach effort to reach and enroll this newly eligible group. 
On March 21, PHLP and Enroll America hosted an outreach and enrollment conference. More than 100 national and state experts gathered to discuss why enrollment and coverage are important, the lessons learned from past outreach and enrollment efforts, and what it takes to successfully get Pennsylvanians covered. 
Presenters included Donna Cohen Ross, Senior Policy Advisor at the Center on Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and Tricia Brooks with Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. For the conference's agenda and other materials, click here. In cooperation with others, PHLP plans additional sessions, including a conference in mid-to-late July 2013 in Pittsburgh, when there will be more information from federal and state officials to act and reflect on.

Panel discussion on why it is important to enroll Pennsylvanians into health coverage. Panel included the voices of health care providers, local government, local human services agencies, small business, and unions.

Save the Date: Join PHLP on May 29 in Celebrating 20 Years of Helping People Get Health Care

For two decades, PHLP has stood by people in distress: people who did not do anything wrong but whose physical and mental well-being were compromised by illness. Our staff has made a tremendous impact in two decades: advocating, educating, and litigating.

In honor of these last twenty years, and those who supported us, PHLP is hosting an anniversary breakfast in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, May 29 at the Doubletree Hotel.  Please save the date and celebrate all we have achieved together. More information to come in the weeks ahead.

Client Spotlight: PHLP Helps Disabled Client Transition to MAWD

Last month, Danny, a 59-year-old man living in York County, learned from state officials at the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) that in a few weeks he would lose his Medical Assistance (MA) coverage. Because Danny has numerous health problems, including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and difficulty walking, he was concerned about how he would pay for his health care needs on his small, fixed income, so Danny turned to PHLP for help.  
PHLP immediately advised Danny that appealing DPW’s decision within 13 days of the date of the termination letter, would continue his health services while state officials reviewed the case. Danny submitted his appeal within the 13-day window, but state officials incorrectly stopped his health coverage and refused to remedy the mistake. PHLP successfully persuaded senior officials to correct this mistake, so that health services could continue pending the outcome of his appeal.
During PHLP’s review, we determined Danny was no longer income eligible for MA due to increased Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments. However, Danny was eligible for another Medical Assistance program, Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD), which for a small monthly premium provides health insurance to individuals who are disabled due to chronic health problems and who are employed.
PHLP encouraged Danny to find a part-time job, and worked with DPW to ensure that Danny transitioned smoothly to his new category of coverage. Danny was able to keep the health insurance he needed, avoiding dangerous gaps in coverage.
PHLP concentrates on ensuring Pennsylvanians like Danny receive quality medical attention to enjoy and be productive in life without pain and suffering. Many Pennsylvanians, and their health care providers, do not understand their rights to challenge the decision denying them care or the process discourages them.
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PHLP in The News

PA Democrats Build Medicaid Pressure on Corbett, York Daily Record, February 26, 2013 

As Obamacare Nears, Medicaid Eligibility at Issue in PA, Newsworks, March 26, 2013

What We're Reading

Language Access Checklist for Marketplace Implementation, Families USA, March 2013
Customer Service Principles and Performance Standards for Marketplace Call Centers, Consumers Union, March 11, 2013
Catholics Take Medicaid Fight to Governor Corbett, Delaware County Times, March 20, 2013
FACT SHEET: Medicaid Expansion and Pennsylvania (describes costs of Medicaid expansion), PA Department of Public Welfare, March 2013

Public Unaware of State's Decisions on Health Reform, Governing, March 20, 2013
Implementing Health Reform: External Review As An Example Of A Nuanced Regulatory Approach, Health Affairs Blog, March 19, 2013
Without Medicaid Expansion, Employers Face Higher Tax Penalties Under ACA, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, March 2013

Mortality and Access to Care among Adults after State Medicaid Expansions, New England Journal of Medicine, September 13, 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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