State (of CT) Must Keep Health Care Assistance

State Must Keep Health Care Assistance


Connecticut, along with the nation, is heading into the Affordable Care Act‘s second open enrollment period starting Nov. 15. What’s troubling is that our state has no public plan for linking consumers with the in-person assistance that was available a year ago.

During round two, the 257,000 plus people statewide who enrolled in the first year will have the opportunity to renew or select a different plan from a dizzying array of expanded offerings. Concurrently, this will be a time to target the population that remains uninsured. We still have unfinished business in enrolling those under age 35, males, African-Americans and Latinos. These groups are more challenging to reach and harder to convince about the benefits and peace-of-mind health insurance offers.

As the leaders of three of Connecticut’s independent health foundations, we provided grant funding to Access Health CT last year. This helped to provide for navigators and in-person assisters to deliver face-to-face education and enrollment assistance in communities for those seeking to sign up for health insurance. We knew consumers, especially those new to the complex world of health insurance, would need knowledgeable and trustworthy local resources to help them understand the various options available to them and how to sign up for them.

These in-person assisters engaged Connecticut residents 605,495 times with information about the new insurance options and financial assistance, and enrolled 31,769 residents — about half of whom were uninsured — in coverage.

The findings of an independent enrollment evaluation, conducted by the Community Alliance for Research and Engagement of Yale School of Public Health, overwhelmingly support the value of in-person assistance, especially with harder to reach communities. For example, the study found that consumers were better able to obtain the information they needed with greater satisfaction from in-persons assisters than through Access Health CT’s website or helpline.

This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $60 million in grants to 90 navigator organizations. Unfortunately, organizations in places with state-facilitated marketplaces such as Connecticut were not eligible. Connecticut’s inability to renew more than $3 million of federal funding that supported last year’s in-person assistance efforts has left the fate of many uninsured residents uncertain.

Our foundations are not able to replace federal funding, but we have been ready to help in any way that we can, including with additional grant funding. Community organizations that were part of the in-person assistance network during round one, including many of our grantees, have been eager to re-engage in the enrollment process. But, so far, the state plans for implementing the second round of open enrollment have not been publicly released. It remains unclear where we fit in. For Connecticut to leave private funding and experience on the table would be a missed opportunity.

Connecticut cannot go back to a time when the state uninsured rate was 7.9 percent. In-person assistance is a key component in preserving the gains that made us a national leader. In-person assisters are part of a “no wrong door” approach to helping consumers through barriers and covering those who might have otherwise given up and remained uninsured. These consumers now have access to — and are using — important benefits such as doctor visits, prescriptions and preventive care.

We understand that as a practical reality, in-person assistance will need to be scaled back and look different this time, but the state is not at the point where we can let go of high-touch efforts as part of a comprehensive strategy.

We need to ensure that in-person assistance remains an essential part of the consumer support system this enrollment period and beyond, providing support yearlong for consumers who face challenges using their insurance. So the question to Connecticut’s health reform leaders remains: What’s the plan?

Patricia Baker is president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. Frances G. Padilla is president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. Nancy L. Heaton is CEO, of the Foundation for Community Health. (Copyright © 2014, The Hartford Courant)

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc concurs 100 percent with the authors that the in-person assisters need to remain in place to help consumers to sign-up and navigate what is still a challenging health care pathway to getting affordable and suitable health coverage.

OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc is a 501©3 volunteer organization in CT. OneWorld produces community information television programs and community forums on health literacy, education and civic engagement since 1996. Visit our web site at: OneWorld has been providing key information about Health Care Reform since 2009, and has provided informative blogs and produced a comprehensive Sign-up Workshop and much more information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for viewers of our programs, and visitors to our YouTube channel:

Our television programs air on AT&T Uverse (Channel 99, drop-down menu) statewide, and on Charter Communications Chan. 21, on Comcast channels 10, 15, 18 and 26.

Additional information is provided here:

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Learn more about Access Health CT here: Health Insurance Exchange – also here: AccessHealthCT com | Access Health CT Health Insurance

The next open enrollment period starts Nov. 15, 2014. Check with the Access Health CT site for the latest information.–20140912,0,6603724.story?

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Evaluation of the ACA Enrollment Experience in Connecticut

Evaluation of the Access Health CT First Open Enrollment Experience in Connecticut between Dec. 2013 and March 2014.  The survey was designed and carried out by CARE.  See more about CARE at the end of this blog.

Raising up the Voices of Urban Consumers, Assisters and Navigators. This article is presented by the Universal Health Foundation. It is comprehensive and very informative for individuals, organizations and for providers. OneWorld recommends it as being highly beneficial.


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers an unprecedented opportunity for Connecticut to increase the number of people covered by health insurance. An important measure of the ACA’s success in Connecticut is its ability to enroll underserved populations through Access Health CT (AHCT) — the state’s new health insurance marketplace — into private insurance plans or Medicaid. This evaluation focuses on the consumer experience of the AHCT enrollment effort between December 2013 and March 2014, with emphasis on the experiences of underserved urban populations, as well of the navigators and in-person assisters who helped them. The goal was to identify factors that facilitated or impeded enrollment and outreach during the first open enrollment period in order to provide recommendations to enhance future targeted outreach and enrollment efforts.


The evaluation was conducted and designed by CARE: Community Alliance for Research and Engagement at the Yale School of Public Health, using a multi-method approach:

1)     In-person surveys (n = 164) were conducted in English (n = 113) and Spanish (n = 51) among a convenience sample of consumers who visited community-based organizations and AHCT enrollment centers in New Haven, Bridgeport and New Britain between December 2013 and March 2014. These individuals were interviewed by CARE staff immediately after interactions with in-person assistance.

 2)     Telephone surveys (n = 121) were conducted with a sample of uninsured residents during February and March 2014.

 3)     Assister focus groups were held with a total of 49 assisters in March 2014 in the six designated regions of the state: Hartford County; New Haven County; Fairfield County; Litchfield County; New London and Middlesex Counties; and Windham and Tolland Counties.

 4)     Key informant interviews were conducted in April 2014 with one navigator/navigator coordinator from each of the six regions.

 Read the complete report here:  

Learn more about Access Health CT here: Health Insurance Exchange – also here: AccessHealthCT com | Access Health CT Health Insurance

The next open enrollment period starts Nov. 15, 2014. Check with the Access Health CT site for the latest information.

Evaluation of the Access Health CT Enrollment Experience in Connecticut: Raising up the Voices of Urban Consumers, Assisters and Navigators was written by Alycia Santilli, MSW and Jeannette Ickovics, PhD of CARE: Community Alliance for Research and Engagement at the Yale School of Public Health. Funding support was provided by Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Connecticut Health Foundation and the Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation. The views expressed in this brief are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the funders.

 OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc is a small group of committed volunteers who researches, writes and seeks out reliable health care and education information and make these available to the broader community.  We do place emphasis on inner-city, urban, communities of color and disenfranchised communities.  Learn more about our work at: and see some of our community television programs and education forums on our YouTube channel at: – OneWorld’s YouTube – Please Visit us on Facebook at:

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Affordable Care Act 2015: GET THE FACTS

Please Read and Share this blog with others. Some things in the Affordable Care Act for 2014 will be changing in 2015. We think it is important that you get informed in a timely manner. Below are the essential dates you need to know and use to plan for your coverage. Remember, there are penalties for not having coverage. This blog is a combination of information from various reliable resources and OneWorld’s research.

We have placed several active links in this blog so that visitors can simply click the links to get to more information. Please read the Q & A article in the CT Mirror that is also linked.

We have linked the Federal Site with good information about the overall picture. However, CT has its own Health insurance Exchange at: Connecticut’s Official Health Insurance Marketplace:  Here you can get information that might apply in Connecticut and not on the Federal Site linked below.

ObamaCare Open Enrollment Period – ObamaCare Facts

November 15th, 2014 (start of open enrollment 2015). Open enrollment is the only time of year you can get a major medical plan that count as minimum essential coverage in the individual and family market without qualifying for a special enrollment period. This is true both inside and outside the health insurance marketplace.

  • The only way to get subsided insurance is by enrolling in the health insurance marketplace.

  • The only way to avoid the per month fee for not having insurance is to obtain minimum essential coverage and maintain it throughout the year or to qualify for an exemption.

  • To avoid the fee for 2014 you needed to have gotten coverage that started by May 1st, 2014.

  • If you missed the deadline to sign up for health insurance you may still have options.

  •  There are many different types of health insurance that count as minimum essential coverage and each has its own unique enrollment period.

  •  Let’s take a look at the open enrollment periods for ObamaCare’s health insurance marketplace, Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, job based coverage and off-marketplace private insurance plans.

  • obamacare open enrollment deadline  OneWorld urges great caution in selecting a health insurance provider for 2015. United Health Care (UHC) will be one of the insurance providers in CT in 2015. UHC has proven to be extremely difficult with many of its existing Medicare enrollees. There are ongoing complaints and investigations against UHC. Please be sure that you are absolutely clear in what your coverage and provider latitude and your own freedom to choose will be before enrolling.  Here are a few salient questions to be addressed before signing up with a new insurer:

  • Are your present doctors in the network of the new insurance providers? If not, what latitude do you have in selecting providers?

  • How far will you have to drive to get to your new providers? In August 2014, UHC advised Medicare enrollees who live in Hamden and New Haven that they can no longer be admitted to Yale New Haven Hospital (this also means the St. Raphael Campus), or be treated by Yale physicians and care providers.  The approved hospitals are Griffin in Derby, Mid-State (in Meriden) Milford Hospital, St. Vincent Medical Center and Bridgeport Hospital. This is an incredible inconvenience and physical hardship on many of CT’s elderly residents. Many seniors do not drive on the highways.

  •  Do you have pre-existing conditions that are being treated by  specialist/s?

  • Will you be able to maintain that relationship and continuity of care under your new insurer?  This is very important!  

  • If not, will you be able to get a comparable provider/specialist under the new insurer?  It is essential that this be addressed before signing up.  Once you have signed up with UHC, it takes one year to undo it.

For those on Medicare, please know that AARP is NOT a health insurance provider; AARP is only a licensee to UHC. If you sign up with United Health Care through the AARP Supplement program, you are NOT insured with AARP. Please see the disclosure below.

Important Disclosure about Medicare Supplement Insurance:
“The AARP Medicare Supplement Insurance Plans carry the AARP name and United Health Care pays a royalty fee to AARP for use of the AARP intellectual property. Amounts paid are used for the general purposes of AARP and its members. Neither AARP nor its affiliate is the insurer.”

“AARP encourages you to consider your needs when selecting products and does not make specific product recommendations for individuals”

Health insurers wishing to offer coverage through Access Health CT filed their proposed 2015 rates with the Connecticut Insurance Department (CID).  Two insurers, Anthem and ConnectiCare, requested average rate increases of 12.5 percent and 11.8 percent respectively. Thanks to a mobilized community with Universal Health Foundation and the Office of the Healthcare Advocate as the driving forces, these exorbitant requests were not granted.   The insurance commissioner, Thomas B. Leonardi, rejected their requests as being excessive and told Anthem (a division of WellPoint) it could submit a revised proposal. Read more about the decision and questions here:

It was only in 2010, that then Insurance Commissioner, Thomas Sullivan, granted all the large insurance carriers double-digit increases varying from 12 to 19 percent. “State Approves Double-Digit Insurance Rate Hikes.” You can read about that at the link below. No doubt, the exorbitant increases were given to lock in high profits for the insurance companies in anticipation that Dannell Malloy would win the gubernatorial election and that insurance commissioner, Sullivan, might be replaced.

It is important to note that HealthNet got a 19 percent rate increase in 2010; shortly after that HealthNet merged with United Health Care (UHC). UHC has applied and been approved to be a HealthyCT marketplace insurer in 2015. At the top of this blog we addressed issues with UHC.

It is important that we learn all that we can now, so by the end of October we can make informed decisions that meet our health care needs. This article (linked below) in the CT Mirror provides a good question and answer segment we think is worth reading. The earlier we start the planning and research process the better position individuals will be in to make sound decisions about getting affordable health care coverage.

Obamacare Q&A: Health insurance costs and options for 2015 By: Arielle Levin Becker | Aug. 25, 2014

“Looking to buy health care coverage for next year?

Compared to this year, premiums for health plans sold through the state’s individual market are, on average, decreasing or rising slightly. But the exact change will depend on the type of plan you buy. While some customers will see big drops in price, others could face significant increases. And many won’t pay “sticker price” at all, because their rates are discounted by the federal government.

For people buying plans through the state’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT, there will also be some changes in the way plans are structured. Here’s a look at what you need to know about the prices and plan options.”  Click the link below to continue reading the article.

Find much more health care information at OneWorld Progressive Institute .   We are also on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube: 

OneWorld is made up of a small group of community volunteers who: produce community television programs and community forums; sponsor an annual middle school oratory competitions and critical-thinking forums for high school students. OneWorld’s television programs focus on health literacy, education and civic engagement. We welcome feedback. 

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Memory Loss, Cognition, Dementia & The Brain

OneWorld’s Health Literacy Blog about: Memory Loss, Cognition, Dementia & The Brain.

Significant challenges in terms of how memory works, for many of us, seem to arise more often as we age. When it comes to the word dementia many of us would rather not know. We avoid even watching video programs that provide important basic information as though learning will somehow infect us with the disease; it will not. We remind our readers and viewers that knowledge is indeed powerful– particularly when we apply that knowledge. This is the first in a series of information blogs– about Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease– being posted by OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc.  To be fore warned is to be fore-armed. In Part 2 of OneWorld’s video titled “Caring for the Care-givers” Adler Assessment Nurse, Dianne Davis, explains why getting an early diagnosis and good information are extremely beneficial to everyone.

There are many types of dementia; the most commonly known and feared is Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Although Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing older, the greatest risk factor for the disease is increasing age. After age 65, the risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years.”

Seventy-six million American children were born between 1945 and1964; these are known as the Baby Boomers. Because of this large number of people, many of whom are now 65 and older, researchers are seeing and expect to continue to see a surge in the number of people experiencing dementia.  The most devastating form of dementia is known as Alzheimer’s disease. In 2014 more than 5 million Americans are suffering from Dementia; 70 percent of this number have Alzheimer’s. This number is expected to increase dramatically over the next several years.

 Most disconcerting is that many people are being diagnosed in their 50’s. There is no known CURE for Alzheimer’s. However, many of us are equally concerned about Memory Loss. There might be things we can do to slow down or minimize memory loss. This is the first in OneWorld’s new series on Taking Care of Ourselves. Visit the link below to learn about Anatomical Changes in the Brain and the Possible Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease. Getting regular exercise is one thing we can do to keep body (and in particularl) bones and brain healthy and finely tuned. 

Exercise and Cognitive Health – How exercise helps cognitive function

Watch segments of OneWorld Progressive Institute’s community information programs about Dementia, Alzheimer’s and Care Givers.

“This is Alzheimer’s Disease” – Part 1 – Presented by OneWorld Progressive Institute –

 Understanding Alzheimer’s-Part 2 Caregivers – A OneWorld Production

In both of the OneWorld programs (linked above) the guests provide valuable information to those who have been diagnosed and to their loved ones about important steps to take and how to get more reliable information. Each video is less than 10 mins; visitors can get the full 60 mins program by placing an order through PayPal on OneWorld’s web site and store: or by sending an email to:


Other helpful reading:“7-MINUTE SCREEN TEST”




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Watch OneWorld’s informative programs on your local public access channels and on AT&T Uverse (channel 99) in CT.  Find us on Comcast, Charter and AT&T. Visit to learn more about OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc.  We appreciate donation of technical assistance, equipment, time and expertise. Donation of cash can be made through Paypal on the OneWorld web site; an IRS receipt is provided. 

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Black Men March To Keep Boys In School

OneWorld commends these men. In addition to the marching, a strong and sustainable strategic plan is needed. These men and others need to be involved on an ongoing basis in the lives of these children.

Showing up to fill the void of missing fathers – By Alia Malek, Sept 2013

In Connecticut the Academic Achievement Gap Persists

Intervention is needed in New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Hartford, Meriden and New London, Connecticut.  We have this problem wherever there are large African American and Hispanic populations of poor families and largely disengaged and or discouraged teens.

Please read the CT Dept of Education report for 2013, the latest year for which statistics are available.

 Baltimore, MD — On the last Friday of a particularly murderous summer (in Aug. 2013), and with the first day of school on the other side of the weekend, the men have come out for the boys.  They will walk 75-strong through Park Heights, one of the city’s distressed neighborhoods, as dusk gives way to darkness (and often death) in an effort to encourage black boys as they return to the classroom to attend, to excel, to thrive.

Women have been asked to stay behind, not out of disrespect, but because this is something the men believe they need to do alone.

It’s the men’s absence – particularly as fathers – that march organizers see as the primal wound that leads so many of the city’s young black boys to fail to realize their potential. And when the boys fail, it fuels the violence, which many eventually fall victim to themselves.

Achievement Gap Persists (in CT) Despite Progress Reflected in High School Graduation Rates

ByCTByTheNumbers.infoOn08/15/2013 · InDemographics, Education

The academic achievement gap is alive and well and living in Connecticut.

According to NAEP: “Achievement gaps occur when one group of students outperforms another group and the difference in average scores for the two groups is statistically significant (that is, larger than the margin of error). The NAEP reports on the Hispanic-White achievement gap and the Black-White achievement gap use NAEP scores in mathematics and reading for these groups to illuminate patterns and changes in these gaps over time.” This report was last updated in Jan.30, 2014. National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)

While the high school graduation rate in the state has edged upward for the third consecutive year in 2012, 15.2 percent – 43,883 students – in the cohort of the class of 2012 failed to complete high school in four years.  This is down from 17.2 the previous year, according to the State Department of Education’s newly released data.  The state’s graduation rate is 84.8 percent – the percentage of students who graduate high school within four years.

Of the 15.2 percent of students who failed to graduate in four years, just over one-third – 5.4 percent – was still enrolled when their fellow students received their diplomas.  Overall, the disparity in graduate rates among whites, blacks and Hispanics was pronounced:

  • The graduation rate of Hispanic students (68.6 percent) is 22.7 percent lower than that of White students (91.3 percent); the corresponding gap between Black/African American students (73 percent) and their White counterparts is 18.3 percent.

  • The graduation rate for low-income students (those eligible for free lunch) is 66.6 percent, which is 26.5 percent lower than that of students not eligible for any lunch subsidies (93.1 percent).

  • The graduation rate for English Language Learners (62.7 percent) is 23.2 percent lower than that of their non-ELL peers (85.9 percent).

The graduation rate for Hispanics increased 4.4 percent last year over 2011, and it increased 1.8 percent for Black students, reflecting the state’s progress in narrowing the longstanding gap.

However, “just 54.2 percent of Hispanic males and only 57.6 percent of Black males who are eligible for free lunch graduated high school within four years,” the department reported, pointing out the demographic with the greatest disparities.

Graduation Rates by Gender for Black/African American and Hispanic Students – Who are Eligible for Free Lunch

                                            Male               Female
Black/African American      57.6%              76.4%
Hispanic                              54.2%              68.4%

 The report also noted that the high school graduation rate remains higher for males than females in Connecticut, 88.3 percent compared with 81.5 percent. (This is clearly not so for African American and Hispanic males)

And the graduation rate improved more for females (2.3 percent) than males (1.9 percent) from 2011 to 2012. Across the state’s 188 high schools, the graduation rate was above 90 percent in 100 high schools, 40 high schools had a graduation rate of between 80 and 90 percent, and 38 high schools had a graduation rate of less than 80 percent.

Graduation rates are calculated according to the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate method, which was developed by the National Governors Association and is considered to be the most precise method. These rates represent the percentage of students who graduated with a regular high school diploma in four years or less. It is based on individual student level data, excludes 9th grade repeaters, late graduates, and accounts for transfers in and out of the graduating class over the four-year period.

By way of comparison, in North Carolina, 80.4 percent of students graduated high school within four years, somewhat below Connecticut’s overall 84.8 percent.  However, among students of color, North Carolina’s numbers outpace Connecticut.  In North Carolina, 73 percent of Hispanic students now graduate in four years, compared with 68.6 percent in Connecticut.  Among black students, the percentage graduating in four years is 74.7 percent in North Carolina, compared to 73 percent in Connecticut. If North Carolina is graduating more Black and Hispanic students than CT, it says something is wrong in CT.

Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups – Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups – NCES 2010-015 – U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

  • Black and Hispanic males constitute almost 80 percent of youth in special education programs.

  • Black boys are 2.5 times less likely to be enrolled in gifted and talented programs, even if their prior achievement reflects the ability to  succeed.

  • Black male students make up 20 percent of all students in the United States classified as mentally retarded, although they are only nine percent of the student population.

  • Twenty-eight percent of core academic teachers at high-minority schools lack appropriate certification.

  • Although we have these dire statistics, we actually have tools to reverse this trajectory, and success stories to prove it.

  • Go to: Race Against Time: Educating Black Boys. There is hope; there also needs to be commitment on the part of everyone involved.  We NEED to make it COOL and rewarding and possible for Black and Hispanic boys to beat the negative odds and SOAR academically.

 Learn more about OneWorld Progressive Institute, Inc at:  Education is our middle name. We focus on education-at-every-level through our Education Agenda TV programs: 

Visit our YouTube channel to see examples of our three categories of programs:

Closing Education Achievement Gap Between Blacks, Poor and Affluent Whites – A OneWorld education forum with Connecticut educators

Read other OneWorld Education Blogs on our site

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