How the Marketplace Works

You have probably heard through various media the Health Insurance Marketplace aka the Exchange will open in a few days. A number of things are probably still unclear. You will need to create an account, enter information, pick a plan, then enroll in a health insurance plan. For coverage to start on January 1, 2014 you must enroll by December 15.

To help you get started here is a reprint of a September 20 article appearing in the HealthCare Blog, located at It reads in part:

You can apply for health coverage, compare all your options, and enroll in a plan in one streamlined application through the Health Insurance Marketplace. When open enrollment begins October 1, 2013, you can fill out your application and see the health coverage options available to you.

1. Create an account
First provide some basic information. Then choose a user name, password, and security questions for added protection.

2. Apply for Marketplace coverage
Enter information about you and your family, including your income, household size, and more. Use this checklist now to help you gather the information you’ll need.

3. Pick a plan
Next you’ll see all the health insurance plans and programs you’re eligible for and compare them side-by-side. You’ll also find out if you can get lower costs on Marketplace coverage.

4. Enroll
Choose a health insurance plan that meets your needs and enroll! Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014.

These are the 4 steps to getting covered in the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you need help trained representatives are available by phone 24/7 at 1-800-318-2596. Visit the Health Insurance Blog for more information.

Navigators will serve as an in-person resource for Americans who want additional assistance in shopping for and enrolling in plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace this fall. Navigators are trained and certified to help you understand your health coverage options and enroll in a plan. Below are the recipients of Navigator grants awarded for New Jersey outreach efforts.

Center For Family Services, Inc.
Center For Family Services, Inc. (CFS) is a nonprofit human services agency with 90 years of experience serving individuals and families across the life span. CFS will serve the seven lower southern counties of New Jersey which include: Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, Salem, Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland. The funds will be used to educate and help enroll consumers in the health insurance marketplace.

Orange ACA Navigator Project
The Orange ACA Navigator Project (OACANP) will integrate several successfully existing community-based systems to serve as a guide to help uninsured residents and small businesses in underserved and vulnerable populations. OACANP will help consumers learn about insurance options and assist with enrollment in health plans through the competitive health insurance marketplace.

Urban League of Hudson County
The Urban League of Hudson County (ULOHC) is a community based organization dedicated to advocating, facilitating, and promoting initiatives that allow local residents to participate in the development of urban neighborhoods. ULOHC will partner with the Urban League for Bergen County, the Urban League of Morris County and the Urban League of Union County to assist consumers in enrolling in the Marketplace.

Public Health Solutions
Public Health Solutions (PHS) is one of the largest non-profit organizations in New York City. PHS will partner with four community-based organizations in New Jersey to provide outreach and enrollment assistance in Hudson and Essex Counties.

FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Inc.
The FoodBank was created in 1984 and today serves over 260 pantries, soup kitchens and other feeding programs with almost 7 million pounds of food distributed annually. With the help of roughly 1,000 volunteers each year, the FoodBank’s programs work to eliminate hunger by providing emergency food, skills training, outreach programs and advocacy for families in need. Their work will help connect uninsured and underinsured individuals with information about their health insurance options.

Farm Aid 2013: A Message With Music

Farm Aid held its 28th annual music event in support of family farmers in Sarasota Springs, New York yesterday. Founded by Willie Nelson and supported by fellow board members Neil Young, Dave Matthews and John Mellencamp, the 501(c)3 nonprofit promotes organic and sustainable farming and provides help to family farmers. The highlight of the event included a surprise visit by folk legend Pete Seeger who lead the crowd of 25,000 in a singing of “This Land Is Your Land”.

A quote, summarizing the intent of Farm Aid, by Dave Matthews, appears in today’s edition of The Saratogian . It reads:
“What we eat is the first medicine,” said Matthews, who grew up in the lower Hudson Valley. “We can eat well if we just know what we’re eating. Our mainstream media and big government are owned by big money and they won’t help us. It has to be grass roots. It has to be us spreading the word. We have to fight on the ground.”

For additional information visit Farm Aid’s Action Center and

Factory Farming And Public Health

Federal health officials yesterday released an alarming report about the threat posed by the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ findings, “Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.” The alert is contained in the report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013.

A few other aspects of the problem were cited in the report and in related news articles. For example:

  • 70% of the antibiotics sold by pharmaceutical companies in the United States go into livestock production (animal feed for hogs, poultry, cattle, etc.)
  • The amount of antibiotics fed to healthy animals is eight times greater than the amount given to sick people, based on a 2001 2001 Scientific American article, “Most U.S. Antibiotics Fed to Healthy Livestock”
  • Agribusiness is reluctant to allow scientific studies of their factory farming practices as it relates to the antibiotic-resistance health threat

In lieu of being exposed to antibiotic laced meat or poultry consider purchasing organically raised meat or produce which do not contain unnecessary drugs.

The full CDC report is available online at