IN THE LOOP

The news you need to know this week

Welcome to the latest edition of our update on the news you need to know and how it affects you and the communities we serve. Every couple of weeks we send out an e-mail featuring important updates, and you can sign up below! As always, thank you for your support of APLA Health, and please share this with others who may be interested.

08/15/18

We need your input. Help California End the Epidemic!

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The California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Centers, together with viral hepatitis and STD partner organizations, have launched a community-driven effort to help the state end the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics and significantly reduce the incidence of STDs. And we need your help.

Since 2014, several cities, counties, and states have announced Ending the Epidemic plans to end the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics and address the growing epidemic of STDs. Unlike other plans drafted primarily by and for public health officials, these Ending the Epidemic plans were developed and implemented with leadership from all impacted communities.

It is time for California to develop its own Ending the Epidemic plan! We are seeking broad community input and recommendations on key Ending the Epidemic strategies, especially activities that would be considered game-changers. Game-changer activities may include new policies and programs, changes to existing policies and programs, or other efforts that would help dramatically reduce the incidence of HIV, hepatitis C, and STDs.

The Policy Research Centers will compile these and other recommendations into a report to present to the new governor who takes office in January 2019. The report will help inform the development and implementation of a statewide Ending the Epidemic plan.

We want your input! Please complete the Ending the Epidemics community survey here. And feel free to share this information with your networks.

Thanks in advance for your help! If you have any questions, please contact Ryan Clary at clarystrategies@gmail.com.

The Policy Research Centers are funded by the University of California HIV/AIDS Research Program, out of the UC President’s office in Oakland. APLA Health is a participating partner in the Centers, along with the Los Angeles LGBT Center, UCLA, Project Inform in San Francisco, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, and UCSF.

Covered California Premiums Expected to Increase 8.7% in 2019

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Federal repeal of individual mandate contributed to rate increases; Most consumers can avoid paying more by shopping around

Last month Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace, announced that premiums will increase by an average of 8.7 percent in 2019. These rate increases are due, in part, to the Trump Administration and Congress’ decision to eliminate the penalty for individuals who choose not to purchase health insurance—also known as the individual mandate. Covered California said the rate increase for 2019 would have been closer to 5 percent if the individual mandate penalty had not been repealed as part of the Republican tax bill last year.

Fortunately many consumers will be able to avoid paying increased premiums by switching to a lower cost plan in the same metal tier. According to Covered California, the average rate change for consumers who switch to the lowest-cost plan in the same metal tier is -0.7 percent. This means that many consumers can pay the same amount or less if they shop around. In addition, rate increases for consumers who receive federal subsidies will be less because the amount of financial help they receive will also increase. Subsidized consumers account for 88 percent of Covered California’s enrollment.

Despite these rate increases, Covered California is performing better than other health insurance exchanges across the county where double-digit rate hikes are expected. This is largely due to a healthier mix of enrollees and more competition in its marketplace. All 11 insurance companies currently serving Covered California are expected to return for the 2019 plan year and 96 percent of consumers will be able to choose from two insurers or more.

Beginning in October, consumers can find out what they will pay for their 2019 coverage by visiting Covered California’s website and using the Shop and Compare Tool. Consumers who do not have health insurance will be able to start signing up for coverage on October 15.

If you have questions or need help enrolling, please contact one of APLA Health’s enrollment specialists for assistance:

Alba Escobar at the Gleicher/Chen Health Center in Baldwin Hills
323.329.9926 or aescobar@apla.org

Jennifer Miranda at the Gleicher/Chen Health Center in Baldwin Hills
323.329.9912 or jmiranda@apla.org

Davon Crenshaw at the Long Beach Health Center
562.247.7752 or dcrenshaw@apla.org

If you are living with HIV, you can access benefits help at
The David Geffen Center in Koreatown
213.201.1615

Help is available in English and Spanish.

National AIDS Housing Coalition Hosts North American Housing and HIV Research Summit IX

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This month, Government Affairs attended the North American Housing and HIV Research Summit IX in Washington, DC, and presented the California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center’s report on the impact of California’s affordable housing crisis on people living with HIV. The presentation took place at the opening plenary and included a discussion about how the homelessness and affordable housing crises in California affect health outcomes for people living with HIV (PLWH) as well as policy recommendations to improve access to affordable housing for PLWH, which you can read about in the report.

As you may know, stable housing is one of the most critical interventions to improve health outcomes for PLHW, reduce the number of HIV transmissions, and help get closer to ending the epidemic. The Office of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) most recent homeless count reported that there are approximately 553,742 people in the United States who experience homelessness on a given night, 134,278 of whom live in California—almost 25% of the national total. HUD estimated that 2,663 PLWH are homeless in California, and about 70% of those people (1,862) are unsheltered. The California Office of AIDS also estimates that approximately 12% of the estimated 151,000 PLWH in California are homeless or unstably housed—about 18,000 people.

Clearly, there is much work left to do to improve access to affordable housing for PLWH experiencing homeless and those at risk of homelessness. The summit offered an opportunity for researchers, community partners, consumers, and other stakeholders to learn about new research findings and policy and programmatic efforts across the country and engage in a conversation about how to turn research into concrete actions in their own states and communities.

You can see a list of all the summit presentations here.

Share Your Story

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APLA Health provides services to more than 14,000 people, and we want to know their stories. Have you been receiving services from APLA Health? Are you a new patient or client? Have you or a loved one been affected by HIV? Has a staff member gone above and beyond what you were expecting?

We want to know the full story. What are we are doing well? How we can serve you better?

Tell us your story!

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