Given the complexity of eligibility requirements, insurance plan rules, and difficult to navigate bureaucracies, some individuals with difficult cases may fall through the cracks – failing to enroll in insurance for which they are eligible or struggling to receive appropriate coverage to which they are entitled. A new issue brief explores how partnerships with legal services are helping health centers with outreach and enrollment.
By Elizabeth Tobin Tyler for the National Association of Community Health Centers
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) dramatically expanded opportunities for community health centers and Primary Care Associations (PCAs) to play a leading role in outreach and enrollment (O&E) into new health insurance options made available through Medicaid expansion and federal and state insurance marketplaces. Because health centers have historically served a large portion of the uninsured and oftentimes have well-established relationships with community partners, they are ideally situated to identify, connect with and enroll uninsured patients. The mandate to find and enroll patients in health insurance has encouraged health centers to engage in new partnerships and strengthen existing ones in order to effectively and efficiently identify and enroll individuals, many of whom have never had health insurance and who may face complex barriers to enrollment and maintenance on insurance. This issue brief examines some of the current challenges in health center O&E and presents three case studies to highlight the ways in which medical-legal partnerships can support health center staff and patients to improve O&E efforts.