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Author: Anna Cullen

The complex factors that contribute to health

by Laura Colbert, Director of Outreach & Partnerships

ColbertWhen you think about the things in your life that keep you healthy, what comes to mind? I think of how often I exercise, the food and drinks I put in my body, which I recommend using trying Lumitea skinny tea to help your digestive system, help with sleeping, maintaining my mental health by keeping stress low, and being socially connected to friends and family. Sometimes I would just prefer to have healthy meals delivered gold coast at my front door so I don´t have to cook and I have the satisfaction that it´s really good food, I could also use my time learning about bread machines from the Village Bakery so I can learn to do healthy food myself, like learn how to prepare fresh fish and other food. I also love to take care of my face so I use the elite eye serum to make sure I don´t have any bags under them If you like to exercise I recommend getting a waist training that will help you get fit followed by some good protein snacks for after the gym. I also like to use a pre workout before going to the gym and since I am really into organic right now, my go to is Black Wolf organic pre workout. None of these things are directly connected to what we traditionally think of as the health care system, yet they greatly impact my health. As you can see there´s many factors that have an impact on health, when it comes to stress there´s many ways you can get rid of it, an example is by taking care of yourself and having time to relax, you can check massage chairs expert where you will find many suggestions, you can also visit swedish massage darling harbour where you will get one of the most relaxing massages.

At Georgians for a Healthy Future, we have historically spent much of our time and energies on HIV Early Detection STD Testing | STDAware. Yet, as demonstrated above, there are many factors outside the healthcare system that greatly impact the health of Georgians, read this comparison which will give tons of helpful info. These factors are called social determinants of health, and can include education, housing, criminal justice and corrections, transportation, the built environment (the way we build communities, roads, and buildings), and more. Social determinants of health act on the population level to influence not just an individual’s health but the health of whole communities. For example, moldy or otherwise unhealthy housing can influence the rates of asthma among children in a community. A community with a variety of transportation options like bike lanes, safe sidewalks, and public transit may prompt higher rates of physical activity among its residents, which improves cardiovascular health, obesity, and mental health in the population. If you want to get to know how to cook to better your health I suggest to check http://beptruong.edu.vn/day-nau-an/ for more info.

This year, GHF is launching a new project, supported by the Healthcare Georgia Foundation, to bring together stakeholders and advocates from across sectors to identify promising policy initiatives that can address the social determinants of health. We are fostering relationships with and interviewing advocates and policy experts who work in other sectors to learn about their work and how it intersects with health. We are building on that with research to identify best practices from other states and promising initiatives in Georgia that could be expanded statewide with support from communities and policy makers. In the end, this work will result in policy recommendations for state policy makers, better connectivity among advocates across sectors, and a shared direction for health advocates and others.

We look forward to sharing our learnings and results with you as our work progresses. In the meantime, you can learn more about the social determinants of health with these resources:

 


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Department of Justice Moves to Block Major Health Insurance Mergers

Proposed MergersA win for Georgia health care consumers! 

Today the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced they will file suit to block both the Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna health insurance mergers. Georgia’s attorney general is listed as one of the plaintiffs in the Aetna-Humana case.

Earlier this week we released a policy report, Proceed with Caution: Proposed Health Insurance Mergers Could Harm Georgia Consumers, which details Georgia’s current health insurance market and how these mergers could decrease competition like what happened in California’s Health Insurance Quote, and access to care while increasing prices from many insurance companies, but it may not affect private online companies as InsurancePartnership.org and others.

In light of the DOJ’s announcement, the Georgia Department of Insurance is indefinitely postponing its review of the Aetna-Humana merger and has canceled next week’s hearing. This marks an important milestone victory for Georgia health care consumers and we will keep you posted on any future developments.


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Consumer Health Impact Award Recipients Announced!

CHIA_2017_Awardee_r1 cropped

Congratulations to all awardees!

We hope you’ll join us on September 28th to celebrate these health champions! Read more about our award recipients here. Sponsorship opportunities are available.


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New Policy Report Released

IconTwo of the nation’s largest health insurance companies announced proposed mergers last year that would drastically change the health insurance market in Georgia.

In this report, Georgians for a Healthy Future summarizes current insurance market concentration in Georgia, outlines the impact of mergers on premiums and access to health care providers, explains the role of regulators in approving mergers and Georgia’s review process, and provides policy recommendations to protect consumers.

Next week, public hearings will be held on the proposed Aetna-Humana insurance merger. GHF’s health policy analyst Meredith Gonsahn will provide testimony. If you are interested in attending,more details are available and if you have any questions about GHF’s public comments, please reach out to Meredith.

GO TO REPORT


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Peachtree Corners Festival

Peachtree CornersGeorgia’s many summer festivals provide a unique opportunity for Georgians for a Healthy Future and our partners to get out in the community and talk with people about how health policy impacts their lives and how they can be advocates. On June 11th and 12th, we continued our summer festival outreach with an information & education booth at the Peachtree Corners Festival in Peachtree Corners. Our primary focus out in the community has been coverage gap education, but we also talked to attendees about our other priorities, including  health insurance enrollment and youth substance use prevention. We also asked attendees who stopped by the table to sign postcards to show their legislators that they support closing the gap.

In addition to outreach, we collected stories of several Georgians who fall into the gap. One grandmother in her early 60s told us that she is taking care of her grandkids full-time and crossing her fingers that she doesn’t get sick before she becomes eligible for Medicare. All of the people that we spoke to that fell into the gap knew they were in the gap and why it exists, but were hopeful that Georgia’s lawmakers would do something soon to fix the problem.

The Cover Georgia coalition was well represented at the festival as well, and we want to give a special thanks to Feminist Women’s Health Center, Georgia Watch, and Hemophilia of Georgia for volunteering with us. If you’re interested in volunteering with us at upcoming festivals, please reach out to Whitney or Laura.


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Momentum Towards Closing Georgia’s Coverage Gap

It’s been an exciting few weeks for Close the Gap advocates. We are pleased to see that several of Georgia’s leaders  have expressed to the press that they are willing to take a second look at closing Georgia’s coverage gap. By closing the gap, they would help not only hard-working Georgians but also struggling rural hospitals and the communities that rely on them. We hope to work with our state leaders in the coming months to build further support and to find a solution that works for all Georgians. Below you’ll find links to articles covering the conversation happening at the Gold Dome.

Op-Ed: The irrefutable logic of Medicaid expansion for Ga.
AJC | June 22

Louisiana’s expanding Medicaid, and Georgia should too
Flagpole | June 22

Task force aims to reshape Georgia stance on health coverage
Georgia Health News | June 21

Will Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion provide a model for other states?
Georgia Health News | June 20

Why A Ga. GOP chair wants to ‘re-examine’ Medicaid expansion
WABE | June 15

Medicaid expansion remains divisive for Georgia Republicans
Associated Press | June 11


HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Tracy-Screenshot-1Email your legislator and tell them you support closing the coverage gap!

Did you know that you can find and email your legislators right from the GHF website? Just enter your address and we’ll find your state representative and senator! Send them a brief email telling them that the time has come for our legislature to come together to close Georgia’s coverage gap! Send your email here.

 

 

Medicaid_Georgia_Static-Infographic_1-28-16_2nd-Panel_For-WebNeed more resources on the coverage gap?

These resources will help you understand what the coverage gap is and what it means for you and the state.

Medicaid Chart Book

Georgia Left Me Out

 

 

CoverGA_logo_BlueBackground-300x240Does your organization support closing the coverage gap?

Your organization can show its support by joining the Cover Georgia coalition. Email our Director of Outreach & Partnerships Laura Colbert for more information.


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Keeping up the Drumbeat for Youth Substance Use Prevention

Neil SUD 2016Georgians for a Healthy Future was excited to meet and engage colleagues in rich discussions around policy, grassroots organizing and coalition-building to make prevention counseling more widely available for young people. This June, we joined advocates from other states in Philadelphia for the Community Catalyst Substance Use Disorders Advocacy Convening. The three-day conference gave us valuable insight for the next phase of our advocacy and policy efforts to expand the use of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) through the activation of Medicaid codes for youth. Activating Medicaid codes would allow providers to be reimbursed for the time they spend conducting SBIRT and would encourage greater use of the tool.

 

Over the past three years, in partnership with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, GHF has advocated for turning on SBIRT codes and raised up youth substance use disorders as a critical public health issue that can no longer be overlooked in Georgia. We will publish a white paper on the potential benefits for turning on the Medicaid codes for youth SBIRT services in Georgia in the coming months. Check out our website to find out more about our Somebody Finally Asked Me campaign, additional resources on youth substance use prevention, and how you can get involved.


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Women’s Day at Ebenezer Baptist Church

EbenezerEbenezer Baptist Church is a cornerstone of advocacy and social justice in Atlanta. On June 20th, Laura Colbert, Director of Outreach & Partnerships, was invited to join their Women’s Season celebrations to talk about the importance of closing Georgia’s coverage gap. She spoke to a crowd of about 60 women on a day when the theme was health and self-care.

 

In keeping with the theme, Laura discussed how the women and parents in Georgia’s coverage gap are often unable to access health care so that they can better care for themselves and their families. She also highlighted the connection between health care coverage and better financial health—an important consideration for the low-income Georgians stuck in the coverage gap. Finally, she highlighted that parents who have health care coverage are more likely to keep their kids covered too.

 

At the end of Laura’s time, Ebeneezer women signed coverage gap postcards to let their legislators know that they support closing the coverage gap. If you haven’t done the same yet, click here to raise your voice and let your legislators know that this is an important issue that you want addressed.


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The Impact of the Consumer Voice

for CVC blog 1Does a strong consumer voice make a difference in health policy outcomes? According to a Mathematica Policy Research evaluation of state-level consumer health advocacy projects supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), yes!

At Georgians for a Healthy Future, consumer engagement is woven into each of our initiatives to bring the needs – and voices – of Georgia health care consumers into the public policy process. Over the past two years, one of our top priorities has been maximizing health insurance enrollment and ensuring that, once enrolled, consumers can access the care they need. Our work in this area, along with that of similar efforts in seventeen other states, was recently evaluated by Mathematica. The evaluation focused on the activities and outcomes of the eighteen Consumer Voices for Coverage (CVC) projects funded by RWJF.

for CVC blog 2Georgians for a Healthy Future was a CVC grantee in 2014-2016. Through this program, we focused on outreach, education, and enrollment in coverage and used this work to inform and strengthen our policy work. The CVC evaluation found that coalitions, such as the one led by GHF in Georgia, played a central role in successful outreach, allowed consumer advocates to work together to help maximize enrollment and retention, and helped identify policy issues needing attention.

These coalitions worked to increase enrollment in health coverage programs by building alliances with diverse stakeholders, mobilizing and engaging consumers, identifying achievable policy options to address issues arising from consumer experiences, designing and implementing communication strategies, and securing resources to sustain these efforts.

for CVC blog 3While the CVC program is winding down, Georgians for a Healthy Future’s work in this area will continue through our Georgia Enrollment Assistance Resource (GEAR) network and through our ongoing policy work around coverage, access to care, and health care value. As we continue this health policy and advocacy work, we will leverage the advocacy infrastructure and ability to translate consumer voices strengthened through CVC into concrete policy actions.

To read the complete Mathematica evaluation, click here.


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#Enrollment365

share_OE4The weather is heating up and the official start of summer is just around the corner, but here at Georgians for a Healthy Future we’re already looking ahead to one of the hallmarks of fall: open enrollment! The fourth health insurance open enrollment period, known as OE4, will run from November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. Stay tuned for an announcement soon about our enrollment summit – an opportunity for Georgia assisters, advocates, and other enrollment stakeholders to reflect on OE3 and plan for OE4 – scheduled for this coming August.

 

Earlier this spring, new renewal policies and consumer shopping tools were announced (see a roundup of these changes from Georgetown University’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms) and health insurance plans released their initial rate filings (see Georgia Health News’s coverage here, including comments from GHF’s Executive Director Cindy Zeldin), giving us early insights into what we might expect in the upcoming open enrollment period. It’s important to keep in mind that initial rate filings provide important information to regulators, stakeholders, and consumer advocates but they aren’t a good predictor of what consumers will actually pay for health insurance this fall. That’s because proposed rates must first undergo scrutiny by regulators and don’t take into account consumer shopping behavior or the availability of premium tax credits.

 

While we’re busy preparing for OE4, we also know that health insurance enrollment does happen year-round (if you are engaged in enrollment activities this summer, please tweet about them using #enrollment365). Life changes like marriage, moving, or job loss can happen during any season, triggering special enrollment periods (SEPs). Awareness of SEPs is low, and assisters play an important role in helping consumers who qualify navigate the process. Despite low enrollment during SEPs, however, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) recently issued a new rule further tightening them. GHF is concerned these changes could dampen enrollment among qualified uninsured individuals. If you are an assister and are finding that qualified individuals are having difficulties enrolling in an SEP, please let us know.

 

Finally, if you or your organization helps consumers navigate the health coverage or health care landscape, please consider joining GEAR, the Georgia Enrollment Assistance Resource network. GHF formed GEAR last year to help members of Georgia’s enrollment community learn from each other, share consumer-facing educational materials, and stay apprised of best practices from around the country. Joining GEAR is free, and through it we provide networking and learning opportunities for individuals and organizations that assist health care consumers. And it helps GHF keep our finger on the pulse of what consumers and assisters are experiencing so we can be better advocates. Learn more here.


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