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.
As we approach the end of April, the special enrollment period (SEP) for tax filers is coming to a close. The tax SEP was just one of many SEPs out there. Now enrollment assisters can focus their outreach and partnership efforts to target specific populations who may qualify for other SEPs. For advocacy groups and those providing application assistance, it’s time to spread the word that coverage is available for people now, as their lives change.
In the second open enrollment period that just ended, one million more people of color signed up for marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act than enrolled during the first year. This achievement is thanks in large part to the more than 20,000 thousand navigators and assisters around the country who offered in-person assistance in communities of color. But we’re far from achieving equity when it comes to health coverage. Here we share recommendations to make improving enrollment efforts in communities of color a priority.
Health care advocates across the nation are celebrating the milestone of nearly 11.7 million Americans gaining health insurance through the second open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, the latest enrollment numbers from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have led some to characterize enrollment of communities of color as “lagging.” What is getting less attention is the new HHS data showing a huge reduction in the disproportionately high rates of uninsured people of color.
More than 30 consumer groups, 37 senators, and 50 House members agree: Pregnant women should be allowed to enroll in health coverage when they find out they’re pregnant, even if it is outside the open enrollment period. Pregnant women who lack health insurance often go without necessary prenatal care, thus jeopardizing their health and that of their babies. Already, thousands of people have joined with the senators to call for the creation of a special enrollment period. Families USA has signed on as a partner in this effort, and we ask that you join us to demand access to health care for pregnant women.
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 second open enrollment period in the health insurance marketplaces is officially closed. But HealthCare.gov and several state marketplaces are still accepting applications for coverage. These include California, Kentucky, New York, and Washington State—the four states participating in our final open enrollment teleconference call yesterday. The directors from these state-based marketplaces explained that the extensions are only for consumers who recently started an application to get health coverage but were not able to finish.
One of the most significant and popular features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the new protection that puts an end to insurance company discrimination against people with pre-existing health conditions. This important ACA protection depends on two other provisions that keep coverage affordable: premium subsidies and the coverage mandate.
With the close of open enrollment only 10 days away, health insurance marketplaces are planning extra events and longer hours to encourage last-minute signups. Yesterday, as part of our open enrollment teleconference series, we heard from five enrollment leaders in states where the federal government runs the marketplace.
Many states are offering extended hours during the final weekend of open enrollment to make sure as many people as possible get covered.
The second open enrollment period for buying coverage through the health insurance marketplaces ends on February 15, just as tax season is getting underway. Now is a good time to raise a proposal that we first suggested after the first open enrollment period last year: Create a “special enrollment period” for people who learn they will have to pay a tax penalty for being uninsured in 2014.