Due to high deductibles in health plans, many insured consumers still have trouble being able to afford the health care they need. Some forward-looking health plans are taking steps to make sure their members can afford care to manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.
Lack of access to dental care is a significant problem in American health care. Last week, USA Today reported that the number of adults seeking help in the emergency room for “long-delayed dental care” has doubled since 2000. This finding highlights data we released in May showing that dental care is one of the most persistent unmet health care needs for many adults.
Ruth Petran has celebrated Mother’s Day with her children for the past 33 years, but this Mother’s Day is special. Ruth says it’s the kind of Mother’s Day that wouldn’t have been possible without the Affordable Care Act. This is the first Mother’s Day that Ruth will celebrate as a grandmother, as well as a mother. For years, Ruth worried that her daughter’s private insurance policy without maternity coverage would force her to delay having children. Thanks to the ACA’s protections that mandate maternity coverage for all consumers, Ruth’s daughter, could access the insurance she needed to start a family and give Ruth the grandchild she had been hoping for.
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.
Health Insurance Marketplace Experts: Savvier Consumers Prioritizing Health Care Needs over Premiums
With the second open enrollment period three weeks under way, we continued our series of talks with enrollment experts and journalists on December 3. Speakers shared how enrollment is unfolding in four of the federally facilitated marketplaces: Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, and Florida. There was general consensus among the experts that the emerging trend for second enrollment is that consumers renewing their coverage are savvier shoppers—thinking about how their health plans will meet their health needs rather than only focusing on the cost of monthly premiums. And they are asking more targeted questions about benefits and providers
Much like a cell phone, an insurance plan is only as good as its network. Protections enacted at the federal and state levels are an important step toward strengthening private insurance provider networks. The Affordable Care Act created the first-ever provider network protections for private insurance consumers. These protections require health insurance marketplace plans to have adequate networks to meet their enrollees’ medical needs in a timely manner.
Whether they need guidance with improving outreach, helping consumers understand their health coverage, or using the media to spread the word, resources are available to help navigators and assisters be successful.
Each month, we weigh in on selected news stories and trending debates that are shaping the direction of health care policy.
The start of the second open enrollment period is less than 50 days away. Like many of you, I’ve been finding myself increasingly caught up in the whirlwind of activity around preparations for the new enrollment season—ensuring that America’s working families have the information and resources they need to get covered and stay covered.
Anyone concerned about affordable health care in the United States is rightly focused on the upcoming second open enrollment period and Medicaid expansion in the states. But there’s another important effort that demands advocates’ attention—extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Now is the time to ramp up awareness of the funding crisis threatening CHIP and enlisting the support of lawmakers to defend it. If Congress does not act in the coming year, millions of children will be left without affordable health insurance next October.
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.