While the few months of open enrollment are typically what most people think of when they think about marketplace health coverage, the truth is that enrollment happens all year long. Between helping consumers sign up for coverage when they experience certain life changes, enrolling people in Medicaid, and trying to educate the public about the Affordable Care Act, enrollment assisters are busy 365 days a year.
Despite a divided Congress in Washington, many state policymakers around the country, supported by advocates, reached across the aisle to make needed improvements to the health care system.
Governors, lawmakers, and regulators made strides to expand health coverage, protect consumers in the insurance market, and address rising prescription drug prices. Here are some of the highlights of the 2016 sessions through June 1 and the Families USA allies whose advocacy was critical to making them happen.
Communities of color, even once they have insurance, face barriers that can hinder access to those providers. Of those barriers, one of the most notable is the often limited availability of health care providers and facilities in communities of color. Today’s post outlines 10 tactics advocates can use to work with state and federal officials to help address these issues.
This week, the House Ways and Means Committee in Congress will vote on legislation that would eliminate caps on how much money marketplace consumers must repay the federal government if they receive more premium tax credits (a form of financial assistance) than they should based on their projected annual income. Families USA is concerned that the bill could deter people from signing up for health insurance if there is no longer a reasonable cap on how much they could be required to repay.
In addition to enrolling consumers in marketplace insurance, assisters can serve another valuable role: helping consumers register to vote. Applications for health coverage, whether through HealthCare.gov and state-based marketplaces, provide clients with access to voter registration, which makes it easy for assisters to help people register to vote. Here’s what assisters should know about voter registration and how they can help consumers navigate this process.
A weight is lifted for Sudan, a bodybuilder, thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace insurance.
Sudan works as a personal trainer for members of the military and their families at an air force base in Georgia. She loves helping people get in shape and stay healthy, but for many years, Sudan felt that her own health was at risk.
Interview with Families USA's Story Bank Coordinator, Cate Bonacini: For over five years, Cate has been talking to consumers about their health care, helping to build and now manage Families USA’s story bank. That means spending hours on the phone talking to people about accessing and affording their health care and health coverage. In this Q&A, Cate talks about what she's been hearing since the 2016 election.
Black History Month inspires us to celebrate the rich history, achievements, and contributions of African Americans in our nation, as well as the hard work that remains to dismantle racism and achieve true racial equality. We agree with Dr. King that fighting injustice in health care is an urgent civil rights issue central to achieving our shared dream of peace, prosperity, and equality for our children. But it is clear that a focus on health care alone will not achieve health equity for African Americans.
Covered California could be the first exchange in the country to sell health insurance to undocumented immigrants and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. The state marketplace is trying to use a Section 1332 “state innovation” waiver to obtain federal approval for a plan to offer coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status. While the proposal does not allow undocumented people and DACA recipients to receive financial assistance to help them with the costs of insurance, it is an important step toward universal coverage.
At the end of February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced significant changes to the federal marketplace process for consumers to enroll in health insurance through special enrollment periods (SEPs). While the new SEP process has not been entirely laid out yet, we have significant concerns that these changes will negatively affect consumers, especially low-income consumers and immigrants. Here we describe some principles the new process should follow to meet the needs of consumers.