A National Health System’s Coverage Expansion Story: One Life at a Time

By Guest Blogger

This post was written by Tina Grant, JD, Vice President, Public Policy & State Advocacy, Trinity Health.

Want to hear more about how providers can connect Americans to quality, affordable health coverage? Have a story or a lesson to share? Join the #EnrollChat on Twitter at 1:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 10.

Perry from Muskegon, MI, grins as he presses "submit" to enroll in his first health insurance plan.

With a belief that health care is a basic human right and providing access to all is both a moral and practical imperative, Trinity Health, for many years, has advocated to expand access and coverage as an essential element of health care transformation.

In 86 hospitals across the country, Trinity Health joined other national health systems, local organizations, and grassroots groups to embrace the coverage expansion opportunities offered through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Consequently, millions of hard-working Americans now have health insurance.

Since 2014, our hospitals have assisted more than 300,000 individuals with enrollment assistance. To accomplish our goals, we invest in promotion, provide front line assisters, partner with veteran’s groups, hire brokers and diverse outreach workers, join community-based programs, and align with homeless shelters, food banks and other frontlines programs to meet with consumers on their own turf.

Five Top Lessons Learned:

1)    Consumers must be met in the community where they live, shop, study and worship;

2)    Collaboration with others committed to enrollment is critical to success;

3)    Insurance brokers and agents play an important role in this work;

4)    Application assistance is most effective when scheduled, with all documentation requested in advance of the enrollment meeting; and

5)    Education of the provider workforce on the benefits of the marketplace is key.

There is much is more to do.

Millions more Americans who have not yet enrolled are eligible for health insurance via the marketplace. The most commonly cited reason for not enrolling is based on a perception of unaffordability.

However, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), eight out of ten uninsured American’s buying coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplaces will find a plan for $100 or less a month.

And we know this first hand. Trinity helped Perry from Muskegon, MI enroll in health coverage through the marketplace because his job at a local fast food restaurant does not offer health insurance. He was eligible for a full subsidy with $0 out of pocket premium costs.

Perry had been uninsured his entire adult life. With two chronic conditions requiring medication he also put off a much-needed surgery. We know there are many, many more just like Perry, who deserve access to affordable health insurance.

That’s why we continue to engage with important partners such as Enroll America. Together, we can work toward a successful OE2, while in our local communities help people like Perry #GetCovered…#StayCovered!

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