Today is the deadline to sign up for #ObamaCare … nag, nag, nag!

The tiniest state in the nation has a brilliant idea to get those healthy "kids" to sign up for ObamaCare.

Nag them!

From HealthSourceRI: 

Your kids don’t want to get health insurance. They also don’t want to get nagged. Let’s find out which one they want less. Help us get your kids insured by nagging them about health insurance where they least expect it.

It's the Nag Toolkit from HealthSourceRI, Rhode Island's health insurance exchange. Use the handy tools to nag your kids on the social networks they use every day — SnapChat, OKCupid, Tinder, Twitter and Vine.

And if that's too hard to figure out, they'll do the work for you — just give them your kids' email addresses.

Everyone else, go to HealthCare.gov and sign up — today!




Need your health records? Click the blue button

There's an effort underway to make all of your online health records easier to find.

Blue Button Connector is a new beta site launched this week from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (yes, that's a mouthful). Suffice it to say, it's the federal government's attempt to make health records more accessible.

The site is teaming with insurers, hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, labs and others to create a central clearinghouse for your health records — a one-stop download destination.

It's voluntary, and so far some of the biggies have signed up — from Aetna, Blue Cross, Humana and United Healthcare on the insurance side to CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens on the pharmacy side. 

There are fewer hospitals and physicians involved. In Massachusetts, four providers are connected — Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Children's Hospital Boston, Harbor Health Services and Partners Healthcare — while there are none in neighboring Rhode Island.

The immunization registry is even scarcer — it is only available for residents of Indiana, Louisiana and Washington state.

But Blue Button Connector is a step in the right direction!

Vermont gets real to answer real health care questions

It seems everyone has a question about the new health care law.

Natalie and Nathan have some answers.

The married couple are the faces of health care reform in Vermont, answering loads of questions that were submitted to Vermont Health Connect through YouTube videos and TV spots.

The videos are available at Vermont Health Connect's website and are running on local TV throughout the state as 30-second TV spots. The website also links to a broader Frequently Asked Questions page that goes more in-depth on many issues.

And who are Natalie and Nathan? They are previously uninsured small business owners, who teach comedy and theater. They grew up in the Northeast Kingdom and now live in Burlington.

The videos work. They're genuine and have a sincerity to them that is pure Vermont.


Why :) when you can :D?

Billboard at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and West 4th Street in South Boston, shot on November 19, 2013.

Billboard at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and West 4th Street in South Boston, shot on November 19, 2013.

Open wide — and smile!

That's the message from the Massachusetts Health Connector, the Bay State's health insurance marketplace, in its newest campaign to offer affordable dental coverage.

While other states are fretting over how to get started, Massachusetts continues to leap ahead by offering more plans and additional services — and a website that works. 

As the ad says, "Now, smile like you mean it."

 

Website glitches are a reason to ditch ObamaCare? Really?

The recent Healthcare.gov website fiasco is a classic example where poorly planned implementation (in this case horrendously poor!) could sink an otherwise fundamentally sound idea.

We all suffer through tech glitches all the time. It's frustrating — even maddening — but we endure it as part of everyday life in a tech-enabled world. It does not mean we cavalierly jettison good ideas because a website gave us a 404 Error. 

When it comes to the Healthcare.gov problems, Paula Poundstone weighed in on CBS News Sunday Morning: 

Most of us agreed that we loved the idea of people with pre-existing health problems being able to receive coverage. It is simply not possible that technical challenges with the website could cause voters to turn off on that idea. 
Anybody who has ever used a computer knows that privilege goes hand-in-hand with frustration. Why would we give up on the affordable health care law because of that?
If we were ordering something from Amazon, we'd keep trying for months. … We're no strangers to struggling with websites. Why would that make us give up on a law that makes some insurance policies provide preventative medicine with no co-payments?

There is a lot to learn and dissect from the Affordable Care Act's ongoing implementation fumbles, but one lesson is imperative: Sweat the details. Always!