During Hispanic Heritage Month we recognize the various contributions of our nation’s largest minority group and celebrate how far Latinos have advanced. This month is also a time to reflect on the fact that too many Latino communities lack the opportunities to live safe and healthy lives that are the foundation for building a strong, self-sufficient future. The good news is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is helping more Hispanics obtain health insurance than ever before.
With a majority of states expanding Medicaid, many more people stand to benefit, including people recently released from incarceration. States are re-evaluating their policies regarding the Medicaid coverage of incarcerated residents. Here we explain why states should adopt policies that make it easier to keep the justice-involved population enrolled in coverage and offer ideas for working with your state to implement those policies.
On September 2, HHS announced grants to organizations from 34 states to deliver the in-person assistance that has proven essential to the enrollment process. We congratulate all those who received funding and applaud HHS for continuing to support these critical positions. One big change this year is that HHS awarded the grants for three years, with 12-month budget cycles. This shift to three-year funding brings stability to enrollment assisters in the 34 states that receive federal funding for navigators.
Across the country, states are experimenting with new health delivery models aimed at strengthening primary care and addressing social service needs that can affect a patient’s overall health. Both community health workers and enrollment assisters can serve an important role in this work by connecting clients with services that enable them to access care and manage their health.
Thousands of enrollment assisters across the country have worked tirelessly to help consumers sign up for coverage, often under stressful circumstances with little support. These assisters typically work independently in their communities, and it’s important to prevent them from feeling isolated or burned out. This blog shares creative ways that organizations can support and motivate enrollment assisters.
With more than 40 percent of domestic weddings taking place in the summer months, wedding season gives enrollment assisters an opportunity to push the special enrollment period (SEP) for newlyweds. And the recent Supreme Court decision, allowing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, provides enrollment assisters with new opportunities to forge community partnerships around the marriage SEP.
If the Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs who brought the case, an estimated 6.4 million moderate-income people would lose premium tax credits. Without these subsidies, many people will simply be unable to afford to purchase health insurance.
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.