At the Chicago Dental Society, we've heard that the Illinois State Dental Society receives several phone calls a day from members with questions about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also referred to as Obamacare. The following bullet points address some of the questions currently being asked:
- Anyone seeking healthcare coverage to begin January 1, 2014, must have completed an application, chosen a plan and transmitted it to the selected insurer by December 23, 2013. Plans may be purchased on the Marketplace at healthcare.gov, by fax or by phone. Plans may also be purchased outside the Marketplace by use of an outside broker or directly with an insurance carrier.
- If you have been previously contacted by your major medical insurance carrier that your plan has been cancelled for 2014, the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) recently was given the option to extend those cancelled plans for one year by the federal government. The DOI has extended that option to the insurance carriers, leaving the carriers to decide.
- Pediatric dental benefits are a mandated offer but optional purchase on the Marketplace, but are a mandated offer and mandated purchase outside of the Marketplace. Pediatric dental plans will not have an annual or lifetime benefit maximum for covered services. There will be an out-of-pocket limit of $700 per child and $1,400 per family. As a dental provider, you will most likely not know the difference between dental plans purchased on the Marketplace versus outside the Marketplace. Adult dental benefits are not covered in the ACA.
- Small businesses with less than 50 employees are NOT mandated to provide major medical coverage to their employees; however, all employers have to furnish each of their employees with a notice that informs the employees that there are new health insurance marketplace coverage options available. Department of Labor notices designed for this purpose are available for printing and was distributed to the membership via email in September.
If you have additional questions, contact Dionne Haney, ISDS Director of Professional Services, at email@example.com or 800.475.4737.
Are you familiar with Zealous Good? It’s a two-year-old, Chicago-based organization that connects donors with local non-profits to meet specific needs; they say they match non-profits with “the goods they need to do great.”
Redecorating your reception area? Zealous Good can help you find local groups that need the gently used furniture, and you get to select your preferred recipient. They help the donor and recipient communicate directly, and provide tax receipts when appropriate.
Zealous Good started as a pilot with four charities in 2011, and has since expanded to 330 organizations throughout Chicagoland. Director of Operations and Outreach Jesse Mavi estimates that 80 percent of their work is in the metro area. They’ve made 1,800 connections totaling $900,000 in donated goods – and counting.
Find them online or on Facebook and Twitter.
Chicago’s Department of Public Health is working with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to discourage the use of menthol-flavored tobacco, especially by minorities and young people. Look for a new campaign from the LimeGreen/Chicago ad agency on television, radio and print materials.
The print ads feature close-ups of the faces of young people on whom are scarred the words "Big Tobacco." The ad copy reads: "Tobacco companies use menthol-flavored cigarettes to get you addicted. Don't get burned."
This campaign is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call to action under the City of Chicago’s public health agenda called, “Healthy Chicago.”
Chicago will be the first city in the United States to regulate e-cigarettes and impose a targeted sales restriction that would ban the sales of these tobacco products near schools. Menthol-flavored cigarettes have a minty flavor that masks the tobacco taste and generally reduces throat irritation often associated with smoking.
Smoking remains the top cause of preventable deaths in the United States with an estimated 450,000 Americans dying of smoke-related diseases every year. The good news, the smoking rate has been the lowest in the last 45 years but that number has stagnated around 21 percent for the last five years.
“This is very meaningful work that we’re doing in connection with the Burned campaign,” said Michael Stratta, Managing Partner at LimeGreen, in a prepared release. “Our hope is that the awareness initiative will not only help our city’s youth but raise overall health awareness throughout the city of Chicago.”