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Get Covered, Stay Covered!

More than 10 million Americans gained affordable health insurance in 2014. Starting on November 15, individuals and their families can sign up or renew their coverage for 2015 using the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace offers quality health plans and financial assistance to help pay for the cost of your health insurance. If you are uninsured – or know someone who is -- or you need to renew your health insurance, here are some facts and resources to help you get started…

Reading up about health insurance can take a little time, but it will pay off — for your heart health and your wallet!

1)      Learn the facts -- The Marketplace is a new way for consumers to shop for and purchase health insurance that best meets their needs and budget. Having health insurance gives you peace of mind that you’ll be able to get the care you need if you get sick without having to worry about enormous medical bills.  You’ll be able to make side-by-side comparisons of the different health insurance plans before you enroll. And you can’t be turned down for coverage even if you have a pre-existing condition, such as heart disease and stroke. Visit our webpage to learn more.

2)      Find coverage you can afford -- Most Americans who gained coverage this year through the Marketplace are paying $100 or less for their plan each month. The majority of people signing up for coverage can get financial help. An individual making up to $47,000 or a family of four with income up to $95,000 a year could qualify for financial help. Use this calculator to see how much financial help you could receive in 2015. If you don’t get covered, you might have to pay a fine.

3)      Sign up – Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace starts November 15 and ends February 15, 2015. If you sign up for coverage by December 15, your coverage will begin January 1. You can visit the Marketplace online at www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 . You can also get help signing up online, in-person, or over the phone. To find local help, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov.

Health insurance coverage is critical to our shared mission to fight heart disease and stroke.  Research has shown that people with insurance not only have greater access to primary care and preventative services, but they are more likely to take their medications properly to control risk factors, call 9-1-1 if they are experiencing heart attack or stroke symptoms, and generally have better health outcomes.  And, the more uninsured Americans who get covered, the more affordable premiums will be for all of us.  So, learn about the new coverage options today and help us get the word out to friends, family, and neighbors who need this information, too!

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Help Keep Our Children Healthy!

As the American Heart Association’s South Carolina advocacy network, we’re working to ensure we build healthier lives for everyone – especially our kids.  Thank you for joining us in the fight to build a healthier generation.  In our state, we have a long way to go to make sure we keep unhealthy fundraisers like the sale of candy bars, pizza and donuts out of our kids’ schools.  We all know that healthy kids are better students. Currently, South Carolina ranks 2nd in childhood obesity for children ages 10-17.  The last thing our kids need is more junk food at school that will distract them from making healthy choices and focusing on what matters most: learning!

Recently, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) improved guidelines for snack foods and beverages sold in schools to make sure our kids have more access to healthy options. State agencies now have to decide how often they will apply these nutrition standards on an infrequent basis to food-related fundraisers during the school day. The SC State Board of Education (SBE) has proposed a rule that would allow unhealthy fundraisers during the school day to occur up to 90 days per school per year. That is exactly half of the 180 day school year, ignoring the rule guidance of allowing infrequent fundraisers. However, 27 other states, 8 of them Southern states, have opted for no exemptions

We are working right now to make changes through policy focused on this issue.  If we don’t take action for our kids’ future now, it will cost us dearly—up to $8 billion in projected health costs.  Our students are at risk for cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses before they even graduate from high school.

The last thing they need is more junk food at school that will distract them from making healthy choices and focusing on their classes.  Schools need to provide an atmosphere that helps our kids learn to make good, healthy choices. 

We thank you, our South Carolina You’re the Cure network, for joining us as we move forward to change this policy for our children, and for our state.

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Pledge to Stand Up to Sodium!

Did you know that most Americans eat more than twice the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of sodium? Chances are, that includes you—even if you rarely pick up the salt shaker. Too much salt can damage blood vessels over time, paving the way for high blood pressure – a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke, our No. 1 and No. 4 killers. That's why we're asking everyone to stand up for their health by pledging to reduce their sodium intake.

Why take the sodium pledge? The American Heart Association is working to secure 350,000 online pledges, which we'll use to urge support for the reduction of sodium in our food supply. Why the food supply? Because nearly 80 percent of our excessive sodium intake is coming from pre-packaged and restaurant foods.

With the tempting holiday season quickly approaching, do your heart a favor and pledge to reduce your sodium intake today!

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Tell the Board of Regents to say YES to CPR!

Will the Board of Regents say YES to CPR in Schools?  As you know the Governor signed the CPR in Schools bill...So what now? The Commissioner of the State Education Department and the Board of Regents must provide their stamp of approval.  The Commissioner has 180 days to issue a report on CPR/AED instruction in the curriculum.  From there, the Board of Regents has 60 days to accept or reject the recommendations. 

What will the Commissioner recommend?  We don't know yet...and that's why we need you to stay with us for the next step. We'll reach out to the Regents every week with a reason to say YES to CPR in Schools...remember our So Many Reasons campaign?  It's real stories of real New Yorkers impacted by sudden cardiac arrest and CPR.  And the first reason? Kevin Foord…Kevin is alive because his daughter knew CPR.  In fact, she learned it as a teenager.  Today we need you to click below to share Kevin’s story with the Board of Regents.

We'll make it easy for you to send a message to the Board of Regents each week.  It may be a simple email or a social media post.  One minute each week - that's all.  Will you commit to one minute each week to send a lifesaving message?  Start today by sharing Kevin’s story!

CLICK HERE TO SEND A LIFESAVING MESSAGE: http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/composeletters.aspx?AlertID=35647

Kevin was one of the lucky ones – nearly 90 percent of cardiac arrest victims die.  Since the day Kevin was saved, he has walked his little girl down the aisle and become a grandfather twice!  Why teach CPR in Schools?  So that more Dads can walk their little girl down the aisle…and more Dads can become grandfathers…and more babies can spend time with their grandparents.

More families can have the happy ending Kevin has if CPR is taught as part of the school curriculum. 

 

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New Road Map to the End of Hunger Launched in Minnesota

The Public News Service of Minnesota published an article on Food Insecurity in our state.  AHA's Rachel Callanan serves on the Steering Committee of the Minnesota Food Charter. Check it out!

 DULUTH, Minn. - Minnesota is set to roll out a new plan on ending hunger as hundreds of advocates from around the state convene at the annual Food Access Summit, beginning today in Duluth.

Lucinda Jesson, Minnesota human services commissioner, says this year's gathering will include the public launch of the Minnesota Food Charter, aimed at improving access for families struggling to put food on the table.

"This is the result of about a year of public input from a lot of stakeholders," says Jesson. "Basically it's a road map on how we're going to get to the goal of making sure all Minnesotans have access to healthy, affordable food." - Continue reading here

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In MA Stroke is Preventable, Treatable and Beatable

Today, October 29th is World Stroke Day, which was established to help spread public awareness of the world's high stroke risk and stroke prevalence. It is also a good time to remind our legislators why we need to create a strong stroke system of care in the Commonwealth.

While stroke is the No. 4 cause of death and leading cause of disability in the U.S., many Americans do not think of stroke as a major health concern.  We have made a lot of progress, but we still have a ways to go and need your help! If you learn and share the F.A.S.T. stroke warning signs (F-face drooping; A-arm weakness; S-speech difficulty; T-Time to call 911) with your friends and family, you may save a life, possibly yours. Why? Because spotting the warning signs and calling 9-1-1 immediately can lead to quick stroke treatment and may even save a life.

Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted. Without oxygen‐rich blood, brain cells die. Patients should seek immediate medical treatment by dialing 9‐1‐1 at the very first sign of stroke, even if the symptoms go away.  Stroke is a leading cause of long‐term disability in the U.S. and a leading cause of preventable disability. Every 40 seconds, someone in America has a stroke. On average, every four minutes, an American dies from stroke. But we know we can stroke is preventable, treatable and beatable, with your help!

Massachusetts has a chance to be a leader in stroke by ensuring that our primary stroke service hospitals are delivering the care that they have promised to do. When we make sure that patients are getting to the hospital in quickly after having a stroke, we need to make sure that we have a strong stroke system of care.

 

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Victory! Coaches will be required to know CPR in 2015!

Victory! Thanks to your advocacy, critical lifesaving legislation that would require coaches to be trained in CPR is headed to the Governor’s desk. This law, when signed by the Governor, will require all public high school coaches to be certified in CPR by August 2015!

This has been a long battle (5+ years) and we can't thank you and the legislators, especially lead sponsors Sen. Downing and Rep. Lawn, for the continued dedication. We know that coaches will now be trained to be prepared to respond immediately to sudden cardiac arrest at organized practices and competitions.

Sudden cardiac death in young athletes is a tragic event with devastating effects on a family, athletic team, and local community. Thanks to the actions of advocates like you, we can make sure that because coaches will be trained there will be no more tragic losses on our fields, rinks, and gyms.  

 

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CPR in Schools...are you ready for the next step?

Are you ready to take the next step to ensure students in NY learn CPR before graduation?  As you know the Governor signed the CPR in Schools bill...what does this mean?  Now the Commissioner of the State Education Department and the Board of Regents must provide their stamp of approval.  The Commissioner has 180 days to issue a report  on CPR/AED instruction in the curriculum.  From there, the Board of Regents has 60 days to accept or reject the recommendations. 

So what will the Commissioner recommend?  We don't know yet...and that's why we need you to stay with us for the next step.  It's important that the Board of Regents start hearing from us now about why we need CPR for students and what should be included in school CPR programs.  We'll reach out to the Regents every week with a reason to support CPR in Schools...remember our So Many Reasons campaign?  We're now going to share the reasons with the Board of Regents - it's stories of real New Yorker impacted by sudden cardiac arrest and CPR.  And we'll make it easy for you to send a message to the Board of Regents each week.  It may be a simple email or a social media post.  One minute each week - that's all.  Will you commit to one minute each week to send a lifesaving message?  Stay tuned...our first message will be coming soon!!

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You're Invited: Join Us to Learn More About Advocacy

We have a special opportunity from the NC Alliance for Health (NCAH), our statewide coalition advocating for obesity prevention and tobacco control policy change. The American Heart Association is a proud member of the NCAH.

NC Alliance for Health Healthy Food Access Training

You are invited to an interactive training on combating obesity and other chronic diseases by increasing access to healthy foods. There will be a discussion of food insecurity in North Carolina, and the many different ways people around the state are working to increase access to healthier foods.

You will how you can help make a difference. Attendees will have an opportunity to sharpen their advocacy skills, and learn tips to be more effective with media and decision-maker advocacy.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Sarah Jacobson at sarah@ncallianceforhealth.org.

Thursday, November 20, 2014
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Location: Forsyth County Health Department
799 N. Highland Avenue, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Lunch will be served!

Register here by Thursday, November 6!

PS: Don't forget to post pictures of what you see in your food environment on your favorite social media with the hash tag #healthyonthegoNC!

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South Dakota Should Teach CPR in Schools

Everyone should know CPR. Anyone 12 years and older has the physical strength to do CPR.  Ann Thompson wants all kids to learn CPR before they graduate from high school.  Her son, Adam, died at home from sudden cardiac arrest. It can happen to anyone, at any time, anywhere.  Having more people trained in CPR will save lives.  CPR can double or even triple a victims chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest.  See why Ann Thompson is encouraging all schools to teach CPR. For more on this story click HERE.  

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