Hospitals, hospital groups and commercial health insurers are backing a major public exchange market support organization this year.
Enroll America focuses mainly on helping nonprofit organizations enroll people in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange programs in states in which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) runs the exchange program. The group recruits exchange helpers, trains them, helps the volunteers organize events, and provides enrollment information technology support.
The second PPACA exchange program open enrollment period starts Saturday and is set to run until Feb. 15. Regulators and insurers developed the enrollment calendar system to minimize antiselection, by discouraging consumers from waiting until they get sick to pay for coverage.
Consumers can buy individual coverage during the open enrollment period without showing they have gone through a major life change or have some other acceptable reason for applying for coverage through a special enrollment period. Small employers can buy Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange coverage during the open enrollment period without having to meet minimum employee participation requirements.
Enroll America says it has raised $20 million this year. That’s down from $27 million for the first open enrollment support effort, but it should be enough to pay for major volunteer training and organization efforts, the group says.
Enroll America is now working with about 4,600 organizations, up from about 2,500 in April.
In some markets, traditional insurance producers and nonprofit exchange helpers view each other as competition. In other markets, the producers and nonprofit exchange helpers have worked together on exchange enrollment efforts at least some of the time.
To learn more about what Enroll America is up to, read on.
1. Hospitals are big Enroll America supporters.
The presidents of the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Catholic Health Association of America (CHA) sit on the Enroll America board, and Enroll America says 17 percent of the new round of funding came from hospitals.
Hospital executives have been ecstatic this year about the effects of the PPACA Medicaid expansion program on the percentage of patients who come through the door with some kind of health coverage.