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Illinois Health Matters
Saturday, September 29, 2012

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September Newsletter - Weekend Edition

September brought a flurry of health reform activity in Illinois as the state races to meet fall deadlines for its health benefits exchange and Essential Health Benefits. Just yesterday afternoon, the Governor’s Health Care Reform Implementation Council recommended a benchmark insurance plan that must be offered to small groups and individuals beginning in 2014. The plan chosen (drum roll please), will be Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Blue Advantage, found in this chart. This plan covers all state mandated benefits, but does not cover some additional services, such as acupuncture. Also, because EHB requires pediatric dental and vision coverage, the plan will be supplemented by the Federal Employee pediatric vision insurance plan (FEDVIP) and the All Kids pediatric dental plan. Now that Illinois has a benchmark, it goes to the HHS Secretary for approval. Check back in October for more details on this plan and what it means for individuals and families, providers and businesses.

Escape Fire Premiere - Tickets Going Fast!

Time is running out to get a first look at this award-winning film, dubbed by the Village Voice as "An Inconvenient Truth for the healthcare debate"! Join us for this exciting sneak peek and Q&A with health industry thought leaders afterwards. Coming sooner than you think on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 5 to 8 p.m. at AMC Loews Theater600 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL. Tickets and movie trailer here!

Escape Fire Film Premiere
The event celebrates the 20th anniversary of our parent organization, Health & Disability Advocates (HDA). That’s 20 years and counting of policy and program work to improve access to health and economic security for vulnerable people and places in metropolitan Chicago, Illinois, and across the nation (not to mention establishing Illinois Health Matters)!

Making Policy Public
Civic Data Challenge Illinois Health Matters’ data visualization tool won a second place prize in the national Civic Data Challenge. Funded in part by the Knight Foundation, the goal of the challenge was to turn raw data of ‘civic health’ into beautiful, useful applications and visualizations, enabling communities to be better understood and made to thrive. The IHM team was also the only team selected for the Kaggle prize, an opportunity to host an innovative predictive modeling competition on the Kaggle platform.

September blog entries

Community Health Workers help patients overcome obstacles to care, but their training isn’t standardized, yet: Community Health Workers in Illinois - What Should Certification Include?

Thanks to the ACA, deciphering health insurance coverage just got a little easier: Summaries of Benefits and Coverage: Simplifying Shopping for Health Insurance

Navigating health reform changes can be tricky; getting it right is crucial for those with HIV/AIDS: HIV/AIDS Coverage and Care: Before, During and After ACA Implementation

U of C charging boldly ahead in ACA Implementation: The University of Chicago Medicine is Implementing Health Care Reform

What’s better than one celebration? Two celebrations! Escape Fire film and Health & Disability Advocates: Something to Celebrate

Top Health Reform Resources

Consumer Reports developed this brief guide to help you understand the ACA:
Health Reform: Seven Things You Need to Know

The ACA Medicaid Expansion WILL make positive changes, and there’s proof:
10 Reasons the Medicaid Expansion Helps to Address Health Disparities

Medicaid Expansion – literally could mean life or death:
NEJM: Mortality and Access to Care among Adults after State Medicaid Expansions

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines why fewer people were uninsured in 2011:
The Number of Uninsured Fell in 2011, Largely Due to Health Reform and Public Programs

Upcoming Events

October 5th Escape Fire – Film Screening & Special Event @ AMC Loews Theater
October 9th Health reform and Entrepreneurship affiliate event of Chicago Ideas Week
October 12th Building Consumer-Oriented Health Insurance Exchanges in the Midwest
October 16th Virtual Career Fair for Jobseekers with Disabilities
October 18th Webinar: Care Coordination and Improving Costs
October 23rd Behavioral Health Provider training on Military Sexual Trauma

For the latest on how the new health care law is impacting Illinois, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. You can also email us at or submit your question here about how healthcare reform affects you.


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