Managers of the new California health insurance exchange program are taking applications now for a public outreach program.
“Covered California” — the California Health Benefit Exchange — has about $43 million in outreach grant money to spend and has set a March 4 deadline for the first round of applications.
Exchange managers may take in a second round of applications starting in May, officials said.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) calls for state and federal agencies to have exchanges open and ready to sell coverage to individuals and small groups by Oct. 1, with the first coverage sold through the exchanges starting to take effect Jan. 1, 2014. The individual exchange programs are supposed to help eligible consumers sign up for Medicaid plans and other government health plan programs as well as for commercial health coverage.
The California exchange managers are especially interested in recruiting community groups, consumer advocacy groups, religious organizations, trade groups, labor unions, chambers of commerce, and other organizations that can help the exchanges reaches out to uninsured people and other people who might need help understanding their health insurance options, officials said.
The exchange managers also are recruiting “assisters,” or “trained and certified” people who will “provide in-person assistance to help eligible individual consumers” apply for coverage through the exchange.
California exchange managers are expecting about half of the people who buy coverage through the state’s individual exchange program to need help with enrollment, and it expects each individual who asks for help to be applying for coverage for an average of two people.
Exchange managers are hoping to recruit about 3,600 “assister enrollment entities” and about 21,000 individual assisters.
Members of the organizations that get the exchange outreach grants can serve as assisters, and individuals and organizations also can apply to serve as assisters without applying for outreach grants, officials said.
Covered California officials recently put out an outreach program overview paper in which they show how assister compensation will likely work and who can be an assister.
Assisters will get $58 per successful applicant for each new enrollment, officials said.
If the same individual fails once and then succeeds, the assister can get a $58 enrollment fee once the individual qualifies for exchange coverage.