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Safer Living Environments in COVID-19

Less than a year ago thinking about how to navigate safely in a pandemic could not have been farther from anyone’s mind. Yet, a global health crisis created by the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, arrived and didn’t allow time to plan ahead.  In a 2-part series Adapting Beyond the Pandemic, choices and strategies are available with achievable and effective practices. Part 1 of the series, Safer Living Environment presents through the lens of experts, safe living practices beyond the pandemic. The presentation is in a virtual setting and appointment may be reserved Thursdays in April. Please specify 11am or 3pm on your preferred date by email with the subject line “Appointment Safer Living Environments” info@advocatesca.org

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Financial Assistance for Renters During COVID Public Health Emergency

Many workers who could not work remotely were hardest hit by closings and eventual layoffs during the Public Health Emergency (PHE). The Virginia Rent Relief Program is now accepting applications for renters who had difficulty staying current on rent payments.

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Health and Wellness Resources

States Make it Easier to Register for COVID-19 Vaccine

Mid-Atlantic states are making it easier to register for COVID-19 vaccination, using both telephone and online access. In April, vaccine distribution in most states has expanded beyond original restricted groups, so now is the time to reserve your turn! The vaccine is free for everyone!

In Virginia, as reported in the newsletter Virginia Healthcare Foundation by Cover Virginia the process is user friendly. For all residents, except Fairfax County residents, use link here to pre-register VaccinateVirginia.gov or one of the hotlines listed below. Only Fairfax County residents will use this dedicated pre-registration link: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine/registration?utm_campaign=covidvaccine&utm_content=1all2eng2021&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery Sources: visit vaccinate.virginia.gov and fairfaxcounty.gov

In Pennsylvania, the Department of Health offers the new Your Turn Tool. In a simple question and answer format, users are quickly guided to register for their turn, and discover the nearby location to go for a vaccination. https://covidportal.health.pa.gov/s/Your-Turn?language=en_US

HOTLINE AVAILABILITY: For those who prefer to speak to a live person by telephone, state and locality offers a hotline to the local health department. More hotlines will be published as they become available.

STATEWIDE HOTLINES

Virginia 877 829-4682

Pennsylvania 877 724-3258

LOCAL HOTLINES

Prince William County, Virginia 703 794-4666

Fairfax County, Virginia 703 324-7404

Image 1 – Vaccinate Virginia website

This is reprint of Coverva.org announcement 3/2/21

Image 2: Pennsylvania Health Dept Your Turn Tool

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2021 Special Healthcare Enrollment Period until May 15

The Federal government announced important opportunity in response to the public health emergency during the Coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 presented unprecedented challenges for the American public with millions of Americans facing uncertainty and experiencing new health problems during the pandemic.  Due to the exceptional circumstances and rapidly changing Public Health Emergency (PHE) impacting millions of people throughout the US every day, many Americans remain uninsured or underinsured and still need affordable health coverage. In accordance with the Executive Order issued today by President Biden, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) determined that the COVID-19 emergency presents exceptional circumstances for consumers in accessing health insurance and will provide a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for individuals and families to apply and enroll in the coverage they need. This SEP will be available to consumers in the 36 states served by Marketplaces that use the HealthCare.gov platform, and CMS will conduct outreach activities to encourage those who are eligible to enroll in health coverage. CMS strongly encourages states operating their own Marketplace platforms to make a similar enrollment opportunity available to consumers in their states. 

Fact Sheet Link – 2021 Open Season Information

Starting on February 15, 2021 and continuing through May 15, 2021, Marketplaces using the HealthCare.gov platform will operationalize functionality to make a SEP available to all Marketplace-eligible consumers who are submitting a new application or updating an existing application. These consumers will newly be able to access the SEP through a variety of channels: through HealthCare.gov directly, the Marketplace call center, or direct enrollment channels.  Additionally, consumers can work with a network of over 50,000 agents and brokers who are registered with the Marketplace, along with over 8,000 trained assisters, ready to assist consumers with their application for coverage.

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Virginia’s Enhanced Health Coverage for Adults

Until recently, few adults could qualify for Medicaid in Virginia, due to strict eligibility rules.  New rules under Virginia’s New Adult Health Coverage, commonly known as Expanded Medicaid began January 1, 2019. have changed that! Here’s Medicaid Expansion at-a-glance, from the Department of Medical Assistance Services.

For full details on Medicaid Expansion visit the website: https://www.dmas.virginia.gov/#/medex

Virginia residents may check eligibility and apply for coverage immediately! New applicants, and even adults previously covered through the Federal Marketplace can now apply for low-or no-cost coverage under the new program.  Check your eligibility by answering 6 easy questions using link here. Questionnaire Determine Eligibility

To sign up, 2 ways are explained below. Certain new criteria may be of benefit to you or other adult family members, such as Virginia residents between ages of 19 and 64 who are not eligible for Medicare. Annual income must be at or below newly established levels shown in link to Income Chart above. Covered services will vary based on needs identified in the application process.

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Archived Resources

Mortgage and Utilities Assistance Announced for Local Residents 

Prince William County, Virginia.  The Emergency Housing Assistance Program will be provided to all eligible households who reside in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19, with a one-time or short-term (no more than six consecutive months payments) of emergency mortgage and utility housing assistance to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.”  Reprinted 3/4/21

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Assistance with Winter Heating for Virginia Residents 2020-2021

It’s time to tap into two Virginia DSS program sources, for financial assistance with heating bills before the deadlines!  The Virginia Energy Crisis Program, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are actively helping now, before cold weather sets it.  Applications for financial assistance with an unexpected crisis, or for an ongoing need due to income obstacles. More details in blue synopsis below.

Deadlines, Applications and Contact Virginia DSS

November 13, 2020  for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program LIHEAP  OR                                                                             November 2 through March 15, 2021 for Energy Crisis Program applications.                       Contact today: Virginia DSS 855-635-4370

LIHEP Information                                                 Energy Crisis Program

      

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Local Health Department Seeks Community Comments

The Prince William Health District launched an acceptability survey COVID-19 vaccine  throughout the Greater Prince William area. Community members are asked to take a few moments to share their thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine. This is an anonymous survey, meaning you do not give your name or any personal contact information. It is an important way to help Prince William Health District and partners understand the community’s acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine, and identify the places the community expects to get reliable information on the vaccine. Let your voice be heard by taking this short survey. 

English and Spanish versions of survey are in links. Survey in English  Tomar encuesta en español

For more information and help on COVID-19 topics that are important to you, visit Prince William County Health District pwcgov.org/COVID19  Printed 12/24/20