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THE CHAIR'S WORD



FROM THE DESK OF THE SOCIAL ACTION DIRECTOR



REPORTS













WELCOME

Welcome to the official website of the AME Social Action Commission. We are representative of the ongoing fight for Civil Rights and Social Justice in this country, and uplift and educate throughout all of our endeavors, as Social Action is basic to ministry in African Methodism.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church has a unique and glorious history. It was unique in that it is the first major religious denomination in the Western World that had its origin over sociological and theological beliefs and differences. It rejected the negative theological interpretations which rendered persons of African descent second class citizens. Theirs was a theological declaration that God is God all the time and for every body. The church was born in protest against slavery - against dehumanization of African people, brought to the American continent as labor.

The Mission of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of all people by spreading Christ's liberating gospel through word and deed. At every level of the Connection and in every local church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church shall engage in carrying out the spirit of the original Free African Society, out of which the AME Church evolved: that is, to seek out and save the lost, and serve the needy.



CALL TO ACTION: APRIL 8, 2014

A special message from Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, Chair, Social Action Commission:

I, along with Sistah "Jackie" Dupont-Walker, Director of the Social Action Commission, want to thank the leadership and membership of the African Methodist Episcopal Church for your cooperation and support in informing and enrolling members of our congregations and communities in the Affordable Care Act, referred to by many as "Obamacare." Despite a disappointing and horrendous roll out and many untruths put out by opponents of the Affordable Care Act more than 7.1 million people signed up for the Affordable Care Act, which does not include many more who signed up through state exchanges. This defies the projections of many pundits who declared that the number of people who signed up would be far short of the goal of 7 (seven) million people set by the Obama Administration...More



MISSED THE DEADLINE? 5 WAYS YOU CAN STILL GET HEALTH COVERAGE


It’s not too late to get covered. A few routes remain open for those who missed the health care law’s big enrollment deadline.

Millions may be eligible for a second chance to sign up for subsidized insurance this year. And people who get coverage after the deadline can still avoid, or at least reduce, the fine for going uninsured.

Here are five options for those still without insurance:

1. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE GRACE PERIOD

This special break was created for anyone who began enrolling in an insurance marketplace by Monday’s deadline but didn’t finish. That includes people stymied by website outages or overwhelmed phone lines, missing information on applications, and other problems or confusion

Those who started an application on HealthCare.gov by March 31 should log on and finish it as soon as possible. Federal officials say they will take what time is necessary to work through cases pending.

People applying online will have until April 15 to finish, administration spokesman Aaron Albright said Tuesday. Paper applications will be accepted until April 7.

Consumers will have to attest that they had tried to enroll by March 31.

Rules vary in the 14 states running their own insurance marketplaces.

For most people, going through a marketplace opens the door to lower costs. Those who use the grace period will get coverage starting May 1 and won’t owe a fine.

2. USE A SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD

The government also is offering special extensions for a host of problems that might have prevented people from signing up through a marketplace: Natural disasters. Domestic abuse. A serious illness. Mistakes by application counselors. Errors by insurance companies.

To seek a “special enrollment period,” contact the federal call center, at 1-800-318-2596, or your state marketplace and explain what went wrong. It’s on the honor system. If the extension is approved, that brings another 60 days to enroll.

Also, at any time during the year, certain life events – such as changing jobs, getting married or divorced, or becoming a parent – open a 60-day window to sign up for marketplace coverage.

3. SIGN UP FOR MEDICAID

Those who qualify can still enroll in Medicaid – there’s no deadline. Eligibility is based on income and varies from state to state. About half the states expanded their Medicaid programs. The main beneficiaries of the change are adults earning up to about $16,100 per year, with no children living at home. Previously, Medicaid was limited mostly to poor children and their parents and people with disabilities.

4. BUY INSURANCE OUTSIDE THE MARKETPLACES

Buyers can always go directly to an insurance company, but it may be expensive. Plans bought outside the marketplaces don’t come with government subsidies that hold down the cost for people with low or mid-level incomes. But they do include the law’s consumer protections. For example, insurers can’t turn down customers because of pre-existing medical conditions.

Even after the deadline, buying a plan that meets the law’s essential coverage standard reduces the penalty owed, which is based on the number of months without coverage.

The fine for going uninsured all year is the greater of two formulas: about 1 percent of household income above the tax-filing threshold of $10,150 or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child under 18, up to $285 per family. It’s due to the IRS in April 2015.

5. GET READY FOR NEXT TIME

Open enrollment for 2015 is coming later this year. It’s scheduled to begin Nov. 15 and run just three months. That’s another chance to get covered or switch into a plan with subsidies.

Supporters of the law are calling on President Barack Obama to make things easier next time around.

The advocacy group Families USA suggested a bunch of improvements Tuesday, including more face-to-face sign-ups, coordinating enrollment with tax-filing season so people better understand the fines, and improving coordination with Medicaid programs.

Something to think about: The uninsured penalty next year rises to 2 percent of income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child.



AME'S AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OUTREACH MATERIALS & TOOLKIT




Affordable insurance is a national priority. In 2010, the federal government enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which aims to increase the number of Americans with insurance and cut the overall costs of health care.



How the Health Care Law Helps your Community - A Fact Sheet for Faith and Community Leaders.



WHAT OBAMACARE MEANS FOR YOU


You can now go to www.healthcare.gov and use the new Health Insurance Marketplace to see all of the health plans available in your area and sign up for the one that fits your needs and budget. You can also find out if you're eligible to pay less for private health insurance or whether you qualify for other free or low-cost programs.

For a Fact Sheet on how the Health Care Law helps our communities, click here.



THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: YOUR HEALTH COVERAGE, MADE SIMPLE


The first thing you should know about the Affordable Care Act is it's already working for millions of Americans. The 85% of Americans who already have health insurance are now getting better value for their dollar, generally have access to preventive care with no copays, and are saving money on prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D donut hole.

The second thing to know is that for the 15% of Americans who don't have coverage, or for Americans who buy their own insurance right now and aren't happy with it, they'll have better options starting October 1, 2013.

There will be a very simple way to get health insurance. Insurance designed to fit your needs, your lifestyle and your budget at any income level.

Starting October 1, 2013, the healthcare law will allow you to purchase health insurance for 2014 through a new online marketplace.

You will be able to shop among affordable choices, explained in easy-to-understand language.

In many states, premiums are dropping, often substantially. And for some people with low income levels, coverage will be completely free. For other incomes, discounts may apply.

Getting affordable health coverage means you're covered when you need it. As you build your life on your terms, you can rest easy knowing that your finances won't be turned upside down by health care costs from an illness or accident.

The new online marketplace opens October 1. Go to www.healthcare.gov and find your state's online marketplace. See all your health insurance options - and find out if you qualify for the significant discounts available based on your income. All in one place, all explained simply.

For a Fact Sheet on how the Health Care Law helps our communities, click here.



KNOW SOMEONE WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE? HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP


Faith and community organizations often help people meet their basic needs, such as access to health care. Beginning October 1, 2013, people can enroll in health insurance at www.healthcare.gov or by calling 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. The websites and call center will allow consumers to compare a variety of insurance coverage options, and make informed decisions about insurance plans that meet their needs and their budget. In order for people to benefit from this opportunity, they need to be aware of it.

Below is a list of suggestions on how you can help ensure that millions of Americans are aware of the new Healthcare Insurance Marketplace and its benefits. An overview of the Marketplace can be found at www.marketplace.cms.gov. The website includes multiple resources and tools. More consumer information on the health care law can also be found at www.healthcare.gov.
  • Send your partners/members/customers to official consumer resources to learn about the Marketplace and get coverage:
    - www.healthcare.gov
    - www.cuidadodesalud.gov
    - 24/7 Consumer Call Center: 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.
  • Send an email to your network about www.healthcare.gov or tell them about the phone number to call, 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.
  • Post the www.healthcare.gov and/or www.cuidadodesalud.gov widget on your website. More information is at http://go.usa.gov/DUCw.
  • Hang posters and/or give out fact sheets and brochures about the Marketplace. Get them at http://go.usa.gov/DUCe.
  • Host a conference call, webinar, or another educational event about the Marketplace. Power Point slides and videos are here: http://marketplace.cms.gov/training/get-training.html.
  • Include a story about the Marketplace in your organizational newsletter or other publication. Sample articles and fact sheets are here: http://go.usa.gov/DUCe.
  • Find stories of individuals from your community, congregation, or state who are waiting to sign up, and share them today and once they enroll in coverage. Please email your stories to ACA101@hhs.gov.
For more suggestions on how you can help ensure that millions of Americans are aware of the new Healthcare Insurance Marketplace, please click here.

For a quick One-Sheet on additional Affordable Care Act (ACA) information, please click here.








 








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