Make the Connection: A Resource for Veterans

Make the Connection, website is a public awareness campaign by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that provides personal testimonials and resources to help Veterans discover ways to improve their lives. Many of our Nation’s Veterans, from those who served in World War II to those involved in current conflicts, return not only with physical wounds but also mental health issues they may not recognize.

The Make the Connection campaign encourages Veterans and their families to “make the connection”- with information and resources, with the strength and resilience of Veterans like themselves, with other people, and with available sources of support including mental health treatments.

Veterans and their families and friends can privately explore information about physical and mental health symptoms, challenging life events, and mental health conditions. On this site, Veterans and their families and friends can learn about available resources and support.

Visit Make the Connection to learn more about the resources and connections available for Veterans.

Get to Know the Facts About the Health Insurance Marketplace

14 facts about the Health Insurance Marketplace

The Health Insurance Marketplace makes it easier to find quality, affordable coverage. Millions of Americans have already gotten coverage, many for the first time.

Here are 14 things you should know about the Marketplace:

  1. No matter what state you live in, you can use the Marketplace. Some states operate their own Marketplace, and in other states the Marketplace is run by the federal government. You can sign up for 2015 Marketplace coverage as soon as November 15, 2014.
  2. Health insurance plans offered through the Marketplace are run by private companies.
  3. Every health plan in the Marketplace offers the same set of essential health benefits, including doctor visits, preventive care, hospitalization, prescriptions, and more.
  4. You can compare your options in the Marketplace and see what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs will be before you make a decision to enroll.
  5. After you fill out a Marketplace application you’ll learn if you’re eligible for lower costs on your monthly premiums. Most people who apply for health coverage through the Marketplace will qualify for some kind of savings.
  6. You can apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through the Marketplace any time of year. These programs provide free or low-cost coverage to millions of Americans with limited incomes, disabilities, and certain family situations.
  7. If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you may apply for health coverage through the Marketplace outside the Open Enrollment Period.
  8. Insurance plans offered through the Marketplace can’t deny you coverage because of pre-existing conditions like cancer or diabetes, and they can’t charge women and men different premiums.
  9. In the Marketplace, you generally can get dental coverage as part of a health plan or by itself through a separate, stand-alone dental plan.
  10. You must report certain qualifying life changes to the Marketplace, such as if you get married or divorced, have a child or adopt a child, or have a change in your income. After you report life changes to the Marketplace, you’ll get a new eligibility notice that will explain if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and lower costs.
  11. Members of federally recognized tribes and Alaska Natives can enroll in Marketplace coverage any time of year, and they can change plans as often as once a month.
  12. If you have an income-generating business with no employees, you’re considered self-employed and can get coverage through the Marketplace.
  13. Even if you have access to a student health plan, you can choose to buy a health plan through the Marketplace instead. You may qualify for lower costs based on your income.
  14. If you don’t agree with a decision the Health Insurance Marketplace makes, like whether you’re eligible to buy a plan or whether you’re eligible for lower costs based on your income, you may be able to appeal the decision.

Shared from the Blog posted September 24, 2014

New Geisinger program with bases in Scranton and Honesdale

Geisinger program aims to eliminate barriers to health care for most vulnerable

By Michael Iorfino
(Published: August 6, 2014)

Some fear having to pay steep medical costs. Others struggle to find rides to their appointments or are not aware of medical resources available locally.

As the region’s demand for health care services grows, Geisinger Health System launched a pilot program in Scranton aimed at eliminating the barriers to care for the most vulnerable — the area’s underinsured and uninsured.

“If we really want to take care of populations and geographies, there’s a whole bunch of patients that are sort of getting left behind,” said Thomas Graf, M.D., chief medical officer for population health and longitudinal care at Geisinger.
The program, called a “Proven Wellness Neighborhood,” relies on its staff to identify patients’ needs and connect them with resources, such as arranging transportation, teaching healthy lifestyle behaviors or determining if patients are eligible for health insurance.

For example, they could direct an ill patient who lacks health insurance to the Edward R. Leahy Jr. Center Clinic for the Uninsured, one of the organizations coordinating with the program.

Dr. Graf expects the program’s staff — two social workers and two community health agents — to serve at least 1,000 Medicare, Medicaid and uninsured or underinsured patients in the first year. That number should jump to 17,000 in the second year, when the staff grows and awareness of the program increases.

Many patients will be referred to the program by physicians at Geisinger Mount Pleasant in Scranton or the Honesdale Family Health Center, the two “hubs” where staff members will be based, he said.

The program is mainly funded by a $600,000 grant via the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

“Ideally, if we can continue to expand and scale this, we would like to cover all of Northeast Pennsylvania,” Dr. Graf said. “The community need (in Scranton) was real.”