Need new health insurance NOW?

If you experience certain life changes, you don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment in November to enroll in affordable health coverage on or your state’s marketplace. You have 60 days after the following events to apply for a Special Enrollment Period and enroll:

• Moving to a new zip code or county
• Getting married or divorced
• Having a baby, adopting or becoming a foster parent
• Becoming a U.S. citizen or getting a green card

You have 60 days before or after the following to enroll: 

• Losing your health insurance from your job
• Turning 26 and aging off your parent’s health plan

And if you are experiencing domestic violence and want to apply for your own health plan, you can do so at any time.

Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods at or call 1-800-318-2596.


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Study: Uninsured population grows with immigration

The uninsured population is increasingly made up of immigrants, according to a study released today by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
The nonpartisan research organization, which doesn't take policy positions, tracked the increase in the uninsured population over the last 12 years. Native-born Americans still account for the majority -- three-fourths -- of the persons without health insurance, but the percentage of immigrants in those ranks has grown from 18.8 percent in 1994 to 26.6 percent in 2006.
Over the same 12-year period, the percentage of native-born uninsured dropped from 81.2 percent to 73.4 percent, EBRI said.
In raw numbers, that means 12.3 million immigrants and 34.1 million native-born U.S. residents had no health insurance in 2006, the end of the study period.
EBRI drew from Census data to compile the study. It did not differentiate as to the legal or illegal status of immigrants, so it's impossible to use the data to draw conclusions about undocumented residents.
The study found that slightly more than 46 percent of foreign-born noncitizens in the U.S. were uninsured in 2006. That compared to an uninsured population of 19.9 percent of foreign-born who had become U.S. citizens and 15 percent of native-born citizens.
The longer an immigrant had resided in the United States, the more likely they were to be insured, the study found. But immigrants also were more likely to be in low-wage jobs that didn't provide health benefits.


PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION | ACOG Releases New Recommendations on HIV Screening for Women

Physicians need to make an increased effort to encourage minority women to get tested for HIV because they are at greater risk of contracting the virus, according to new recommendations issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, HealthDay/U.S. News and World Report reports (HealthDay/U.S. News and World Report, 8/1). A separate recommendation by ACOG also says that ob-gyns should routinely screen all women ages 19 to 64 for HIV regardless of individual risk factors. Targeted screening is also recommended for women who are outside this age range but at high risk of HIV/AIDS.

The recommendations, issued by ACOG's Committee on Gynecology Practice, are published in the August issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. The committee also recommends "opt-out" testing, in which patients are told that HIV tests will be given as part of routine care, unless they decline. Neither specific signed consent nor HIV prevention counseling is required under opt-out testing. According to an ACOG release, some state and local laws are not consistent with the opt-out testing and might require additional counseling or informed consent requirements.


Immigrants Facing Deportation by U.S. Hospitals

JOLOMCÚ, Guatemala — High in the hills of Guatemala, shut inside the one-room house where he spends day and night on a twin bed beneath a seriously outdated calendar, Luis Alberto Jiménez has no idea of the legal battle that swirls around him in the lowlands of Florida.

Shooing away flies and beaming at the tiny, toothless elderly mother who is his sole caregiver, Mr. Jiménez, a knit cap pulled tightly on his head, remains cheerily oblivious that he has come to represent the collision of two deeply flawed American systems, immigration and health care.

Eight years ago, Mr. Jiménez, 35, an illegal immigrant working as a gardener in Stuart, Fla., suffered devastating injuries in a car crash with a drunken Floridian. A community hospital saved his life, twice, and, after failing to find a rehabilitation center willing to accept an uninsured patient, kept him as a ward for years at a cost of $1.5 million.


Birth Trauma: Stress Disorder Afflicts Moms

Amid the debate over how to effectively manage maternal mental-health disorders, a new type of postpartum illness is gaining attention: post-traumatic-stress disorder due to childbirth.

PTSD is most commonly associated with combat veterans and victims of violent crime, but medical experts say it also can be brought on by a very painful or complicated labor and delivery in which a woman believes she or her baby might die. Symptoms can include anxiety, flashbacks and a numbness to daily life. Even as medical advances have resulted in many more lives saved during high-risk births, extreme medical interventions can leave a mother severely stressed -- especially if she feels powerless or mistreated by health providers.PTSD is much less common than postpartum depression, which has become better-understood by the public as celebrities like actress Brooke Shields and former CIA agent Valerie Plame have spoken out about their experiences. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that postpartum depression affects 15% of mothers.


Report: Lack of health care can lead to homelessness

Providing better access to health care is a key part of helping the homeless in metro Atlanta, according to a report released today by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
The report by the nonprofit charity said health issues can serve as a path into homelessness and that health care can help a person out of homelessness. Stressing that infection, poor nutrition, mental illness, addiction and disease are problems for many people who are homeless, the report focused on the work done by several metro programs."We don't believe that health is the only condition that affects the homeless in Atlanta, but we do believe that we can get more people off the streets and in more appropriate potential living situations by focusing on health issues," said Lesley Grady, vice president of the nonprofit's community partnerships.The report notes that estimates on the number of homeless in metro Atlanta range from 12,000 to 20,000 people on any given day.