Health Insurers, Feds Gear Up to Steer People to ACA Marketplaces

With a law finally passed that extends enhanced Affordable Care Act subsidies for another three years, health insurers and government agencies can now start their consumer-outreach campaigns for the upcoming open enrollment period in earnest. But they’ll also be prepping for a bigger challenge down the road: Ensuring a smooth transition for people who will no longer be covered by Medicaid after the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends.

To that end, the Biden administration on Aug. 30 rolled out a plan called the “Assister Strategy to Support Medicaid Unwinding.” As part of that plan, HHS said it’s allocating $100 million to Navigator grantee organizations for the 2022-2023 budget period as well as reviving the Enrollment Assistance Program (EAP), which established temporary storefronts and labor forces that the Obama administration used in the ACA marketplaces’ early years to supplement Navigators’ outreach efforts. For the new version of the EAP, the Biden administration will deploy “mobile assisters” across population centers identified by HHS.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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