The Virginia Health Reform Initiative (VHRI) will be making some important decisions about health care reform at its September 9 meeting. They will take public comments for about two weeks in late August. (Maybe August 9-26). Because we had some success with this in July, in our next update we will ask small businesses to email to VHRI about these issues. Visit the VHRI website at www.hhr.virginia.gov/
TIME LINE ON HEALTH CARE REFORM: When Congress passed health care reform last year they built in a couple years of implementation. The new law will not be fully in effect until January of 2014. At that time the new health insurance exchanges will start operating. Also, as of January 2014, no one can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition and insurance companies cannot charge much higher premiums for bad health or old age. In 2014 there will also be subsidies for those struggling to buy insurance and health insurance companies will have to spend more money on medical care. Right now there is a plan to help people with pre-existing conditions (see below) and tax credits are available for small businesses that offer health insurance. Plus, many preventive services are now free. See www.healthcare.gov/law/
The Virginia Organizing Grassroots gathering is Saturday, August 13 in Richmond. Wendell Potter, the former CEO of a major health insurance company who turned into one of the leading advocates for health care reform, is the keynote speaker. Wendell’s story is dramatic, and his critique of corporate health insurance greed is worth driving to Richmond to hear. Many of you have probably heard the author of Deadly Spin speak before Congress or on network news, but this is your chance to hear him speak in person. Click here for more information about the Grassroots Gathering.
The national Main Street Alliance is offering a six month media training for 5-7 VMSA members. Most of the training will be on line but there will be some opportunity to travel for more training. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in learning more.
You can take the Virginia Main Street Alliance Survey at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/
As part of the transition to covering people with pre-existing conditions, the federal government has set up a Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan in Virginia. Anyone who has been uninsured for at least six months and has a pre-existing condition may be eligible. Monthly premiums run from $93 – $401.
Go to http://www.healthcare.gov/law/
There is a federal tax credit for businesses that provide health insurance for their employees. For more information go to http://www.healthcare.gov/ and click on the link for small business tax credits on the bottom left.
The Virginia Main Street Alliance is planning a conference call to explain details of health care reform for sometime in mid to late September. Stay tuned for details.