Health Center News

Update: Open Enrollment and Health Centers

Health center and state and regional primary care association (PCA) leaders recently met at NACHC’s headquarters to discuss the most recent health insurance open enrollment period. Though open enrollment ended in mid-December in many parts of the country, it should be noted that several states kept enrollment open way into January and those impacted by the recent hurricanes had special dispensation for extended enrollment. The diversity of experiences led to several thought-provoking conversations on successes and areas for improvement.

While several of the organizations in attendance experienced dramatic reductions in their funding awards for Navigators which hampered their efforts, others represented states, like California, that made other investments in outreach and enrollment to bolster their efforts. Attendees described the daunting task of continuing to educate communities on the health insurance mandates in the midst of a health care debate playing out in in Washington, D.C. — clearing up confusion for continuing and new enrollees became an increasingly crucial role for health centers.

The group recognized that future resources to support outreach and enrollment efforts may become more sparse from public and private partners in the years to come and discussed the importance of ensuring that health centers view outreach and enrollment as a core function of their operations. PCAs also recognized the need to assess alternative funding approaches to provide future training, engage in related research or evaluation efforts, and take part in public awareness campaigns within their states.

The group convened thanks to support from Community Catalyst via a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. NACHC will develop a report from this debrief later this spring.

Thanks to the grant, NACHC was also able to partner with UnidosUS in February to offer a webinar sharing promising practices on how to help individuals enroll in Medicaid who have migrated from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to escape the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria. NACHC has planned a series of webinars related to outreach and enrollment. Upcoming webinars supported by this grant include:

All webinars are 2-3:15 pm ET.

For more information on outreach and enrollment, please contact Ted Henson.