A new study about emergency room use in Oregon is fueling the debate about whether expanding Medicaid as made possible under the Affordable Care Act leads to high emergency room use. To understand what the study says—and does not say—about the impact of Medicaid expansion, it’s important to keep in mind its limitations and consider data from other recent studies.
Welcome to the new Health Equity Highlights monthly blog! Our Health Equity Connection newsletter has been promoted: Every month, you will now be able to find the latest health equity updates, top resources from Families USA and our partners, and important upcoming events here.
Read on to learn about new marketplace enrollment data, progress in covering immigrant children, upcoming health equity events, and more.
In recent months, there’s been an increased interest in improving access to health care for people who are recently released from incarceration or otherwise involved in the criminal justice system. While incarcerated, people generally cannot get access to health care through Medicaid or the marketplace. But when they are released, many are eligible. Assisters in a number of states are working to help what is known as “the justice-involved” population enroll in health coverage, both through the marketplace and in Medicaid.
After expanding Medicaid, eight states (Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia) are expected to achieve budgetary savings and revenue gains exceeding $1.8 billion by the end of 2015, according to a report published yesterday. And that’s even though these states are fairly early into their Medicaid expansion.
Over the past two decades, state-based consumer advocates and health care practitioners have worked together to help low-income people—including those living in communities of color or with chronic medical conditions—gain access to health coverage. As more people gained insurance coverage, consumer advocates and health care providers focused their attention on improving the patient’s experience with the health care system.
The second open enrollment period just ended—and it was a tremendous success. The fact that enrollment systems functioned much better this time around certainly made it easier for people to enroll. But there’s no doubt that the commitment and creativity of 23,000 certified application counselors, navigators, and in-person assisters across the country have made big contributions to enrollment gains. In this enrollment period, we saw navigators and assisters reach new heights of creativity as they strove to find consumers and help them sign up for health insurance.
The Affordable Care Act has made immense strides in expanding access to affordable health coverage. But some lower and moderate-income consumers may still struggle to afford coverage and care, even with the help of federal financial assistance. Nonprofits can alleviate some of the burden facing consumers.
Last week, we highlighted forward-thinking solutions some states have implemented to provide greater financial assistance to consumers, such as implementing the Basic Health Program.
Proposed health insurance premium rates for 2015 varied greatly among states and insurers. To limit unreasonable rate increases, Families USA encourages state advocates to engage in the rate review process.
Earlier this year, we explained how advocates can participate in their state’s rate review process to influence the monthly premiums that health insurers are allowed to charge. We reached out to state advocates to “crowdsource” today’s blog about how advocates are challenging proposed rates.
Fast-Track Enrollment Could Save Your State Valuable Time, Money, and Staff Resources—All While Increasing the Number of People Who Get Health Insurance
New data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demonstrate the marked success of recent enrollment efforts: Since before the first open enrollment period to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has grown by 7.2 million people.
Open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace begins this November. As a result, health insurers are filing their proposed health insurance premium rates for 2015. To examine how rates may change for consumers buying policies in 2015, we reviewed filings and news reports from 12 states where proposed rates have received media attention. For each state, we looked at overall proposed premium rate changes, which are an average for each insurer. A consumer’s actual premium increase or decrease may be higher or lower than the average depending on age, location, and plan choice.