The universe of individuals and families who will be newly eligible for health coverage in January 2014 is large and diverse. We know from consumer research (like the nationwide research recently commissioned by Enroll America) that many people will need help enrolling in coverage-and they will want that help in different ways. Between 33 and 45 percent of those who need help prefer to get it over the phone, while others prefer getting help in person or online.
Last summer, I finally joined the ranks of "real" Coloradans because I summited my first "fourteener" at Quandary Peak ("fourteeners" in Colorado are peaks above 14,000 feet). Growing up below sea level in New Orleans, climbing a mountain that is 14,265 feet high is a pretty big achievement for me! I recall how I felt when I looked up at the mountain from the beginning of the trail. The altitude was already affecting my ability to breathe—even though I was in good shape—and the sheer height of the mountain was daunting. I was scared, but at the same time, I was determined—so I put my head down and placed one foot in front of the other. I am proud to say that several hours later, I bagged the summit.
At this time last year, I felt the same anxiety when we recognized that Colorado was about to expand Medicaid to potentially hundreds of thousands adults without dependent children (AwDC).
Small business owners are one of the most influential groups in the United States. That’s why it’s critical to reach out to them over the coming year to ensure that they learn about health coverage options for themselves and for their employees. According to the Pew Research Center, small business is viewed positively by 71 percent of the public, and, as a group, small business owners are more trusted than churches, academic institutions, large corporations, and more.
There is a common misperception that all members of the military, veterans, and their families receive health coverage as one of the benefits of their service to this country. However, many of these men and women in uniform and their family members are actually uninsured (or lack access to a Veterans Health Administration facility), and they stand to gain from the coverage expansions coming next year. As we’ve talked about on this blog before, veterans and their families will be important targets for next year’s outreach and enrollment efforts. Florida Covering Kids & Families has recently begun targeting outreach efforts to get children in military families enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP. We got a chance to talk with Jodi Ray, Project Director of Florida CKF, to learn more about their work.
Many states are seizing the opportunity to draw down a 90 percent federal matching rate to design and develop new and upgraded Medicaid eligibility systems to support seamless enrollment. The time-limited enhanced federal matching rate makes now a good time for states to invest in and improve their Medicaid eligibility systems, and Utah is one state leading the way.
As we await the final verdict from the Supreme Court, we must remember the core tenets of the Affordable Care Act: modernizing eligibility and enrollment systems; expanding coverage for those in need; and making insurance more affordable, understandable, and accessible for millions of uninsured Americans. With or without the Affordable Care Act, these goals are vitally important to the health and well-being of all Americans. With so much at stake, these changes can (and must) happen—with or without the Affordable Care Act.
Many of us in the health care world are excited about the changes coming in 2014 that will make it easier for people to apply for, enroll in, and renew their Medicaid benefits as a result of the Affordable Care Act. But fewer have focused on what those changes will mean to low-income people’s ability to apply for other benefits like food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) and child care subsidies. That’s why we’ve developed a free toolkit to help states streamline and coordinate the process of applying for Medicaid and other human services.