Partnering with Local Government to Expand Coverage

Source: Ash Pirayou, Hospitals & Health Networks, H&HN Daily, December 13, 2012

City and county governments can join with health care organizations to enroll patients in insurance programs, develop ACOs, train workers and educate the public.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates that U.S. residents obtain health care coverage through their employer; with Medicare, Medicaid or other federal programs; or by purchasing it through state-based health benefit exchanges.

The hallmark of the ACA is simple: enrolling as many of the estimated 32 million individuals without coverage into the health care system as possible. But the administrative burden of coordinating health insurance plans and enrolling those newly eligible for insurance is daunting.

The solution is to join with an often forgotten partner in the nation’s health care delivery system: local governments. While much of the discussion about the ACA has been at the federal and state levels, local governments have experience in enrolling the uninsured in federal programs. Health care organizations and local governments can join forces to respond to the ACA’s requirements.

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