Southeast Asia Action Resource Center Leadership and Advocacy Training

Leadership and Advocacy Trainings

The 2012 Leadership and Advocacy Training application is now available! Apply online here. You may also download an application form here, but online submissions are preferred. This year’s training will be held in Washington, DC on July 15-17. The application deadline is April 29. Please contact Riamsalio Phetchareun at riamsalio@searac.org or (202) 667-4690 with any questions about the training.For more information, click here.

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Medical Bills Can Wreck Credit, Even When Paid Off

CHICAGO (AP) — Mike and Laura Park thought their credit record was spotless. The Texas couple wanted to take advantage of low interest rates, so they put their house on the market and talked to a lender about a mortgage on a bigger home in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs.

Their credit report contained a shocker: A $200 medical bill had been sent to a collection agency. Although since paid, it still lowered their credit scores by about 100 points, and it means they’ll have to pay a discount point to get the best interest rate. Cost to them: $2,500.

A growing number of Americans could encounter similar landmines when they refinance or take out a loan. The Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that sponsors health care research, estimates that 22 million Americans were contacted by collection agencies for unpaid medical bills in 2005. That increased to 30 million Americans in 2010.

Surprisingly, even after the bills have been paid off, the record of the collection action can stay on a credit report for up to seven years, dragging down credit scores and driving up the cost of financing a home. An estimated 3.4 million Americans have paid-off medical debt lingering on their credit reports, according to the Access Project, a research group funded by health care foundations and advocates of tougher laws on medical debt collectors.Read More…

Report: Healthcare law helping cover 50K people with serious conditions

Almost 50,000 Americans with serious medical conditions have gained insurance coverage thanks to the healthcare reform law, the Obama administration said in a new report Thursday.

The law set aside $5 billion for Americans who couldn’t get insurance to join federally or state-run high-risk pools before 2014, when insurance plans will have to accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions. The new report found that enrollment increased 400 percent between November 2010 and November 2011, with about 8,000 new applications per month in the second half of 2011.

The report comes among continued criticism that the program is not meeting its coverage goals. The Medicare actuary had originally predicted that the program would enroll 375,000 people by the end of 2010, but high enrollment costs have frequently been cited for keeping people away. Read more…

New Data Show Health Law is Helping Seniors

When President Obama delivered his State of the Union message last month, he talked about American values: the idea that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to make a good life for yourself and family, and have something left for retirement. Part of those values is Medicare’s promise that older Americans won’t have to spend the last part of their lives worrying about going broke from hospital bills.

The Affordable Care Act is one of the most powerful tools we’ve had in decades to make sure America can honor that promise for years to come. With more than 9,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day, it’s critical that these new beneficiaries, their families and the millions of seniors and people with disabilities who already rely on Medicare know about the law’s new protections and benefits. For millions of Medicare beneficiaries, the law is already making a big difference. Read more…

Take A Pill

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services caused quite a stir recently when it made final a rule requiring private insurance plans to cover basic preventive services without an additional co-pay or deductible starting in 2012.

Why all the fuss? Among those preventive services — which include activities such as screening for gestational diabetes, breastfeeding support, and annual well-woman visits — is access to contraception. And while the rule exempts religious organizations (like, say, the Catholic church), many religiously-affiliated institutions that offer health insurance (like, perhaps, your local hospital or, in my backyard, Georgetown University) must comply. Those who want to cut past the spin can read the rule — including the test for whether an organization qualifies for the religious exemption. Read more…