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February 2015

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Death, Taxes, and Healthcare?
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The first tax season of the Affordable Care Act is underway! Alltax-filers will see new tax forms, while marketplace shoppers will receive new documents in the mail, and some uninsured will have to pay fines. Most tax-filers will simply need to check a box indicating they had health insurance during 2014. The remaining tax-filers, about 25% of the population, will need to take some additional steps—either by reconciling their premium tax credits or claiming an exemption from coverage.

To guide tax-filers through the new process, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burrell announced that her departmentwould collaborate with non-profits and across the country. These partner organizations will answer consumer needs and questions byofferingin-person support or online tax-filingtools. Individuals can find tax-filing help nearby or start filing their taxes on their own by visiting the IRS website. Illinois Health Mattersalso has a great collection of resources that explainhealthcare coverage and taxes. Check us out and let us know what you think by e-mailing info@illinoishealthmatters.orgor taking our survey.

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Don't Chip Away CHIP

Leaders, from Illinois and across the country, are calling on Congress to continue funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program by highlighting its success in reducing the number of uninsured children and warning that these children may lose coverage or receive less age-appropriate care. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP for short, offers developmentally appropriate healthcare for low-and-moderate-income children from families earning wages above the Medicaid threshold. In Illinois, the program covers 219,000 children and pregnant women as of June 30, 2014.

The healthcare reform law funded CHIP until October 2015, but states need imminent federal action as they plan their budgets for the coming year. Unfortunately, Congress may forgo CHIP funding, because children could potentially obtain health insurance through the health insurance marketplace. However, the health benefits in a marketplace plan may not equal those offered through CHIP, and families may not be able to afford the premiums and co-payments.Read more...

On our site

Illinois Health Matters is focusing on the human side of healthcare reform, highlighting personal stories of real people who have benefited from access to coverage. These stories show people,many fellow Illinoisans, who either found more affordable plans or could respond to medical emergencies because of their new coverage. Check them out and if you feel inspired send your story

In case you missed it

Six million uninsuredmay receive fines for not purchasing health insurance in 2014 and not qualifying for an exemption, according to the Treasury Department.

The uninsured are uncertain about their eligibility, according tonew survey data released by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Among the uninsured, low-income adults surveyed, 29% believed insurance would be too expensive and 41% thought they were ineligible for financial assistance.

Recent resources

Medical providers learn talking points for conversations with uninsured patientsin a fact sheet from Enroll America.
Discussing Insurance with Patients

TheCenter for Children and Families describesthe MAGIstandards for Medicaid and CHIP enrollment.
Explaining New CHIP and Medicaid Eligibility

The Alliance for Health Reform summarizeshealth literacy studies and lists websites and experts for further review.
Health Literacy Overview

The University of Georgia created this toolkit toincrease the health literacy of older adults inMeals on Wheels.
Health Education with Meals on Wheels


Find enrollment events in your area at the Get Covered Illinois Events page.

Find volunteer and community engagement opportunities at Get Covered America Events page.

Download a presentation and/or watch a recording from the EverThrive Illinois Webinar series.

Learn what the ACA means for a small business owner from the Small Business Majority's Thursday talks.

From our social media

On Twitter
@ILHealthMatters: #HeartMonth is upon us. More women dying from heart disease, but more men getting treatment. #wellnesswednesday

On Twitter
@ILHealthMatters: Promoting healthy aging at your organization?Take the pledge, promote health aging and living well. #wellnesswednesday

On Facebook
#?ACA? word of the week: MEDICAID is a health insurance program for people with low income

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 send us your question here. If you have friends or colleagus interested in these issues, please feel free to forward the newsletter to them.

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