How Your Health Center Can Help with ACA Outreach and Enrollment Efforts

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace began on November 15, 2014.  After the first Affordable Care Act enrollment period, a Commonwealth Fund report (http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2014/jul/health-coverage-access-aca) found that the uninsured rate dropped from 20% to 15%.  

The largest coverage gains were:

  • Young Adults (19-34) – dropped from 28% to 18%
  • Latinos – dropped from 36% to 23%
  • Low-Income Adults – dropped from 35% to 24%

It is also estimated in the results of a survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, that 6 in 10 people who obtained insurance through the marketplace were uninsured prior to buying coverage. It was also reported that, of the 60%, the majority had been without insurance coverage for at least two years and, of those, almost half had been without coverage for at least five years.

The Commonwealth Fund report found that 60% of people who gained coverage through the Marketplace used their new plan to go to a doctor, hospital, or fill a prescription. 62% of these people would not have been able to afford or access this care without their new coverage.

What can health care providers do to help with outreach and enrollment efforts?

  • Direct uninsured patients to:
    • Visit HealthCare.gov or, for Spanish patients, CuidadoDeSalud.gov.
    • Call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) for assistance with questions, preparation for open enrollment, and to sign up for private health insurance.
  • Inform patients that plans in the Marketplace cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, recommended preventive care, and more.  
  • Remind any person who is currently covered by a plan through the Marketplace to review their plan and decide if they need to make changes for 2015. They can remain on their current plan as long as it is still offered. Either way, action must be taken by December 15, 2014.

Kristen Abreu is a Consultant at FQHC Germane, a health care consulting firm specializing in the needs of established, new and potential Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).

Read more about Kristen here.

To contact Kristen, email her at KAbreu@fqhc.org.