Formerly IGSW News | VOLUME 20 | JULY-AUGUST 2013

News to Note



Open enrollment begins October 1

DHHS Launches Information Site, Funds Health
Centers to Help Consumers Choose Affordable Care


PhotoHealthCare.gov is the destination for Americans seeking information about the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace. Since the Department of Health and Human Services launched the site in June, Americans have been able to find out what they can do to get ready for open enrollment in state health insurance exchanges, which begins October 1.

The Healthcare.gov website is adding functionality over the summer so that, by October, consumers will be able to create accounts, complete an online application, and shop for qualified health plans, DHHS has said. For Spanish-speaking consumers, CuidadoDeSalud.gov will also be updated to match the new consumer focus of HealthCare.gov.

In a related move, DHHS in July awarded $150 million in grants to 1,159 health centers across the nation to enroll uninsured Americans in the new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act. With these funds, health centers in all 50 states are expected to hire an additional 2,900 outreach and eligibility assistance workers to assist millions of people nationwide with enrollment into health coverage.

The start of enrollment will be the most important step in implementation of the Affordable Care Act thus far, so a lot is riding on the outcome. Read more about efforts to prepare consumers in the September-October issue of The LearningEdge. See below for a look at one example of how the private sector is getting into the act.



Survey shows consumers need more info

Retail Pharmacy Giant CVS Caremark Will Help
Its Customers Prepare for Insurance Exchanges


The Obama Administration and states readying their Affordable Care Act health insurance exchanges are not the only ones rushing to prepare and encourage Americans to enroll in an insurance plan beginning October 1. CVS Caremark, the retail pharmacy giant, is among a number of for-profit and nonprofit entities that are rolling out their own enrollment information programs for consumers. CVS Caremark has announced that it will provide brochures and other materials in each of its 7,000-plus pharmacies across the country to help its customers make informed choices about coverage and navigate the enrollment process.

Older adults and people with disabilities living in the community are among those who most frequently depend on retail pharmacies for service and information. CVS Caremark and a number of other retail pharmacy chains sponsored similar programs during implementation of Medicare Part D, the prescription drug provision, in 2006.

Survey shows information is needed. Caremark has also released a new survey showing that while overall awareness of the Affordable Care Act is up, 36 percent of those likely to enroll say they need more information to do so. The survey results, based on a sample of over 1,000 respondents, also showed that perceptions about cost remain the biggest barrier to the likelihood of enrolling and that lack of knowledge could prove costly to consumers: Only 48 percent of those who are eligible for a subsidy realize that they are, the survey found.




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Copyright © 2013 Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved. This article may not be duplicated or distributed in any form without written permission from the publisher: Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research, Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, U.S.A.; e-mail: cader@bu.edu.