13 national organizations join Enroll America in sending the Clinton and Trump transition teams specific steps the next administration should take to control costs and ease enrollment for consumers
Washington, DC — Today, Enroll America and over a dozen other national organizations including League of United Latin American Citizens, MomsRising, Families USA, and the American Association on Health and Disability released recommendations for the next presidential administration aimed at preserving the historic successes of the Affordable Care Act and expanding upon those victories to help even more Americans take advantage of the new options available to them. The recommendations — which were sent to the Trump and Clinton presidential transition teams earlier today — detail specific steps to improve the enrollment effort, help more Americans get covered, and improve the risk pool. Some of those steps include engaging federal agencies in the outreach effort, increasing funding for in-person assistance, taking concrete steps to stabilize the marketplace, and eliminating the “family glitch.”
Since its enactment in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has helped an estimated 20 million uninsured Americans gain health coverage, and the national uninsured rate has fallen to an all-time low of 8.6 percent. Today’s recommendations focus on five detailed, actionable steps that should be taken by the next administration to solidify these gains, ensure marketplace stability, and continue reaching the uninsured until every eligible American has access to quality, affordable health coverage.
“During the past six years, the Affordable Care Act has given tens of millions of Americans the peace of mind that comes with knowing an unexpected illness or injury won’t mean financial ruin,” said Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America. “Regardless of who is sworn in as President in January, the incoming administration will play a critical role in ensuring those consumers, and all Americans, continue to have access to quality, affordable coverage. Through our work with more than 6,700 partners in all 50 states, we know firsthand how critical this coverage is to families across the country, and we’re dedicated to helping any incoming administration expand on these historic successes.”
The organizations’ top five priorities for the next administration are:
1. Invest in aggressive outreach efforts to reach the remaining uninsured. The next administration should continue expanding efforts to engage consumers around their health choices through trusted sources at the national, state, and local level. That includes increased funding and support for organizations best positioned to reach key groups of remaining uninsured including young adults and Latinos, as well as tasking federal agencies who interact with millions of individual Americans — like the Department of Education, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Postal Service — with educating and referring uninsured consumers who need assistance.
2. Make in-person enrollment assistance available to every American. The next administration should make critical enrollment services more easily accessible to every American who needs them by increasing funding for Navigators and Certified Application Counselors and emphasizing online scheduling tools like the Get Covered Connector.
3. Ensure consumers continue to have affordable choices on the marketplace. The fact that more than 80% of the 12.7 million Americans who purchased marketplace plans in 2016 received financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums is a good first step, but more must be done to ensure market stability and affordable premiums. That includes extending the marketplace reinsurance program and modifying the risk adjustment program to better protect issuers from very high cost claims, and eliminating the “family glitch” so employees and their families have options when employer coverage is unaffordable. The next administration should also work closely with Congress to reduce consumer costs by redefining the way the benchmark plan is calculated, and expanding access to cost-sharing reductions.
4. Continue to emphasize data transparency. A continued emphasis on data transparency will be critical in helping the outreach and enrollment community better refine their tactics. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should share data on the pathways enrollees are using to get covered as well as findings from HHS-funded consumer research, and should collect and publish detailed information about marketplace plans and consumers’ experiences with them.
5. Operate a state of the art, accessible enrollment system via HealthCare.gov by the fifth open enrollment period. By embracing steps like simplifying and modernizing communication with applicants and enrollees, testing and refining consumer support tools, and improving the consumer experience with the healthcare.gov call center, the next administration should ensure consumers have the best possible interactions with the tools and services offered by the marketplace.
In the coming months, Enroll America and its partners will continue advising and assisting the outgoing administration to ease the transition period that will begin following the election. Enroll America will also continue conducting trainings across the country to help community-based organizations design and implement highly effective outreach and enrollment efforts for years to come.
“The first phase of the Affordable Care Act has been a victory for millions of newly-covered Americans,” said Filipic. “But with a new administration about to take the reins, at a time when new challenges confront the marketplace, building on past successes will require both the administration and the enrollment community to learn from our on-the-ground experiences working with consumers. And with these important actions, the next administration can continue progress towards a country where every American can get covered and stay covered.”
The next open enrollment period will begin on November 1, 2016 and end January 31, 2017. During that time, uninsured consumers can enter the marketplace and select a plan for 2017, and current enrollees can compare plans and prices and reenroll for the coming year. For eligible consumers, Medicaid enrollment is year round, so they can enroll at any time.
A link to the complete text of the recommendations can be found here.
The organizations joining Enroll America in submitting the recommendations include:
American Association on Health and Disability
Compassionate Care Network
Doctors for America
League of United Latin American Citizens
National Association of Hispanic Nurses
National Hispanic Medical Association
National Immigration Law Center
Raising Women’s Voices
About Enroll America and Get Covered America
Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition. An independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Enroll America works with more than 6,700 partners in all 50 states to create cutting-edge tools, analyze data, inform policy, and share best practices in service of its mission: maximizing the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The Get Covered America campaign was created in 2013 to inform millions of eligible consumers about their new health insurance options, and has been tested, refined, and proven successful through three enrollment cycles. Get Covered America programs and tools are now being utilized by partners in enrollment efforts nationwide, supported by Enroll America staff working both nationally and on-the-ground in targeted communities across the country.