Next reform challenge: Reducing uninsured rates
The first round of health insurance exchange enrollment is over, but the Obama administration and insurers have a new challenge on their plates: working to reduce the amount of uninsured and boosting support for the Affordable Care Act so the next enrollment period will bring in another surge of consumers.
About 8 million people signed up for coverage, but possibly millions more haven't enrolled, primarily because costs are too high. Many of those who remain uninsured either didn't qualify for subsidies or think coverage is too expensive even with the federal funds, reported the New York Times.
"We think that most people will get insurance once it's affordable to them," Cheryl Fish-Parcham of health advocacy group Families USA told the Associated Press.
The so-called coverage gap also includes immigrants who live in the country illegally and can't buy coverage under the ACA and consumers in states that have opted not to expand their Medicaid programs.
"Those people are caught in between. They're just going to stay the same. Nothing they can do," Raquel Vargas, a HealthCare.gov application counselor at Nuestra Clinica Del Valle, a nonprofit medical clinic in Texas, told CNN.
What's more, people who haven't had insurance or suffered any major health concerns for years are less likely to invest in a health plan, the Times noted.
That's why the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services plans to boost outreach prior to the next enrollment period starting in November. "As we look to next year's open enrollment, we will continue to target outreach efforts to encourage the uninsured to explore their coverage options and enroll in a plan that meets their needs and fits their budget," HHS spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt said, noted the AP.
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