Consumer applications for health care coverage need careful review

May 09, 2013

An important message from Families USA

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the final applications consumers will use to apply for coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces when enrollment opens on October 1, 2013. Three paper applications were released:

Although these new forms include several wins for consumers, such as a shortened form for those with less complex coverage situations and better screening questions about disabilities and long-term care needs, the revised applications leave out some important features. For instance, the family application now only includes space for two family members instead of six, and none of the applications include the eligible immigration status list or the list of expenses that can be subtracted from the income of those who are self-employed.

All of this underscores the important role that navigators and in-person assisters will play in ensuring consumers are able to find the most appropriate coverage options through their state marketplace. To help you gear up for outreach and enrollment, Families USA recently produced a webcast that previews the new application process, discusses the role of consumer assistance programs, and addresses the need for a robust public education campaign to ensure consumers are aware of their new coverage options.

The webcast features Jenny Sullivan, director of the Best Practices Institute at Enroll America, Chris Wyant, managing director at Enroll America, and Sarah Baggé, health policy analyst at Families USA. The webcast has been segmented to allow you to more easily access the information relevant to your work.

Open enrollment starts October 1, 2013, and the time is now to start educating the public about new coverage options and to build effective enrollment programs. To learn more about enrollment assistance programs, please visit our Navigator and In-Person Assister Resource Center and sign up to receive updates on this important work.

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