Health care reform will give millions more people access to health insurance coverage, through both an expansion of public programs, like Medi-Cal, and the establishment of the California Health Benefit Exchange, which will provide subsidies to low- and moderate-income Californians to help them purchase coverage.
SBHCs are a logical place to let students and families know about the health care coverage that is available to them. People are most likely to be receptive to information about health insurance when they are in a comfortable and familiar location – particularly, one where they already receive health care services.
The California Health Benefit Exchange is establishing several programs to help enroll people in coverage. These include:
- Marketing, Outreach and Education Program – This program is designed to reach people and communities across the state. It will include a grant program to fund organizations to conduct outreach.
- Assisters Program – This program will train and register individuals to enroll people into coverage.
Outreach for California’s Exchange
Enrolling Californians who are newly eligible for health care coverage is critical to the success of California’s Exchange. The vast majority of SBHCs, school districts, and county offices of education already provide health insurance information, and a growing number also provide assistance enrolling in affordable coverage. The Exchange has adopted a Statewide Marketing, Outreach and Education Program to help educate people about insurance options. CSHC actively provided feedback as the program was being developed and we were pleased to see an emphasis on the importance of including schools and SBHCs in outreach activities.
Grant Funding Available
As part of the program, the Exchange has announced a new grant program. A total of $40 million in funds will be available in 2013 and 2014 to non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations, including SBHCs and schools. This is an exciting opportunity for SBHCs to get funding to help students and families learn about their insurance options. The Exchange has released draft guidelines for this grant program. (Note the dates in the presentation above are not correct. The request for proposals will be announced on January 22nd, with applications due on March 4th.) We are following this program closely and will alert our members when more information is available.
Enrollment into California’s Exchange
Assisters will help people understand their health insurance options and how to enroll in appropriate coverage. Enrollment Assisters will be trained, certified, and registered with the Exchange to enroll consumers in QHPs. They will also be required to link people to other appropriate insurance programs.
There will be two types of Certified Enrollment Assisters.
- Certified Enrollment Assisters Compensated by the Exchange (Navigators):
These Assisters will be compensated for successful enrollments into the Exchange. The Exchange Board is still deciding which organizations will be eligible for compensation, but it is clear that community clinics, including their affiliated SBHCs, will be included. Compensation will be $58 for a successful enrollment, with no compensation for renewals.
- Certified Enrollment Assisters Not Compensated by the Exchange:
Enrollment entities that will not be compensated by the Exchange include health insurance agents, hospitals, and other providers. These entities may be compensated by other sources or have a business interest in enrolling consumers (i.e., would themselves benefit financially from enrollments).
To learn more about how schools and SBHCs can help families get insurance coverage, see Outreach and Enrollment Resources.