Engaging the Criminal Justice Community Around the ACA

By David Street

Individuals who are leaving the criminal justice system are three times more likely to go to the E.R. for medical attention and treatment than people who have not been incarcerated. And they are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic health conditions such as: hypertension, AIDS, diabetes, and hepatitis C. Luckily, marketplace plans are required to provide medication and counseling services for individuals who may be suffering from depression or some of these chronic health conditions. We just need to make sure they know about their options.

That’s why Enroll America recently brought together 14 national partners for a small roundtable discussion that looked at intersections between the ACA and the criminal justice system. The purpose of the roundtable was to begin to craft a strategy with national partners that would feature the best practices, resources, and work of all the organizations in attendance as it relates to helping individuals gain access to affordable health insurance upon leaving the criminal justice system.

Our roundtable was our first step in a long-term strategy around enrollment and re-entry. Here’s a snapshot of what we will be working on in the months to come:

  • Enroll America will continue to build relationships with parole officers and agencies that work in the re-entry space.
  • We will encourage partners to utilize our Get Covered Connector as a way to promote in-person assistance for individuals who have been recently released.
  • In early August, we will host a call with our national partners to share any new actions or outcomes relating to re-entry and enrollment.

For more information on working with the re-entry population, check out some of the great work from the Shriver CenterFamilies USA, Kaiser Family Foundation, or PEW. And to stay plugged into our work with the re-entry population, feel free to contact me.

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