CMS Launches Educational Campaign About ACA Insurance
CMS on Monday launched a federal campaign, called "From Coverage to Care," that is designed to educate consumers about the Affordable Care Act and promote the law's benefits, The Hill reports (Al-Faruque , The Hill, 6/16).
According to CQ HealthBeat, the initiative builds on a pilot program conducted in four states.
CMS on the expanded website has uploaded 10 videos and a booklet that aim to help first-time health insurance enrollees or those who have only a rudimentary understanding of health insurance understand how insurance works, how they can renew or enroll in coverage plans, how to calculate deductibles and how to locate a physician. The booklet -- which consumers can download, print or receive through the mail -- also provides a glossary of terms related to coverage, such as "out-of-network copayment" and "specialist."
The website's materials are available in English and Spanish, and users can also access discussion guides designed for people or agencies tasked with helping new enrollees, including community groups and enrollment assistors (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 6/16).
Few ACA Enrollees Literate in Health Insurance
In related news, health care providers and researchers are calling on health officials to help educate consumers about the basics of health insurance and how to use their coverage policies amid widespread health care illiteracy and confusion, Kaiser Health News/MedPage Today reports.
For example, Martha Vasquez, the lead enrollment specialist at the California-based Eisner Pediatric & Family Health Center, said that many patients purchased plans through the health insurance exchanges with the lowest premiums, not fully grasping that those plans also came with high deductibles. Vasquez said that such confusion has led to uncertainly about medication coverage, access to specialist care and whether preventive care visits were available at no cost to the consumer, among other issues.
Brendan Saloner, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, said, "Giving somebody an insurance card and not really telling them what that insurance is going to do for them is not going to produce the health outcomes that we all want to see." He added, "If the goal is to improve health and lower costs ... it is really important to equip consumers with the education they need."
According to KHN/MedPage Today, government agencies, health insurers and universities in response to this issue are undertaking a widespread effort to educate consumers about health insurance and the ACA in particular. For example, America's Health Insurance Plans spokesperson Susan Pisano said that insurers are publishing glossaries that define various insurance terms, holding webinars and sending out "welcome kits" to new beneficiaries to make everything "clear, simple and easy to use" (Gorman, MedPage Today/Kaiser Health News, 6/16).
Report: Financial Assistance Motivates Consumers To Enroll
Meanwhile, a report released Monday by Enroll America found that the most effective way to motivate consumers to enroll in coverage under the ACA was to inform them about the availability of financial assistance, The Hill reports.
For the report, Enroll America examined its ACA education and enrollment efforts during the first enrollment period to understand how it could best engage consumers during the second enrollment period, which is scheduled to start in November.
The report also found that:
- Partnerships with community centers and church groups at the national, state and local levels were crucial to spreading awareness;
- Consumers who were assisted by navigators, a Certified Application Counselor or other in-person assistor were twice as likely to enroll in coverage than were consumers who tried to enroll online without assistance; and
- Young adults, and Latino and African-American populations were the most difficult to enroll, although they were more likely to enroll after multiple follow-ups (Al-Faruque , The Hill, 6/16).