New Web gateway offers health reform answers
New Hampshire residents and business owners have a new online tool to help them navigate the expansive federal health-care reform law.The Endowment for Health has launched the EH Pilot, a one-stop shop for information on the new federal health law.The EH Pilot (endowmentforhealth.typepad.com/pilot) provides a myriad of links directing visitors to information from a wealth of state and federal agencies as well as other resources, such as AARP.”EH Pilot offers resources to help average people and small businesses navigate through the details of the health law and get a simple explanation of how it affects them on a personal level,” said Karen Ager, communications director for the endowment. “We’ve compiled what we believe are the most reliable, factual and easy-to-understand tools and organized them so New Hampshire’s people can make better sense of the new law.”Ager said the endowment “heard from countless advocates and the general public” about the need for a clear, concise resource to help guide businesses, families and individuals through the massive new health-care reform legislation.”There has been nothing this large since civil rights legislation,” she said of the health reform law.The site offers a number of different starting points from which business owners, families or individuals can find answers and begin research such as information on latest small-business tax credits or qualification for a policy under the future state insurance exchanges.”We are trying to use the most factual and to-the-point information we can,” said Ager. “The site is meant for the public, not necessarily policy ‘wonks.'”The rollout of the mandates in the federal health-care law makes a tool such as the EH Pilot a welcome resource for both residents and small businesses, since several provisions are starting immediately.For instance, starting Sept. 23, insurance companies can no longer place lifetime limits on coverage, cannot drop members when they get sick and cannot exclude children under age 19 with pre-existing conditions, among other provisions.Credits for the 2010 tax year are already available for businesses employing fewer than 25 full-time equivalent workers and meet certain requirements, such as paying an average annual wage of less than $50,000 per full-time equivalent employee.”We encourage the public to visit the site often and to share information with friends, family and colleagues when they find a piece that is particularly useful,” Ager said. The site offers the capability to share resources via Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.Resources will be updated on a regular basis as new information becomes available, she said.For more information, visit endowmentforhealth.org.Cindy Kibbe can be reached at email@example.com.