Sacramento Business Journal by Kathy Robertson –
July 23, 2013:
California hospitals hope to play an important role in getting millions of people enrolled in health plans when coverage for the uninsured expands next year.
On the front lines of care 24/7, hospitals often are the first place uninsured patients come into contact in the health care system and offer a natural place to begin the conversation about getting coverage.
To get hospitals ready for that job, the California Hospital Association has released a guidebook that offers a step-by-step process for determining whether an uninsured patient is eligible for Medi-Cal or private health insurance through Covered California.
Funded by the American Hospital Association and prepared for CHA by the national health care consulting firm Kaufman, Hall & Associates, the manual provides a detailed overview of the California Healthcare Eligibility and Retention System — better known as CalHEERS — which will be the online application portal for determining eligibility and enrolling the uninsured.
The Affordable Care Act requires states to provide a “no wrong door” approach for individuals applying for and enrolling in health coverage, but it is believed many will need in-person assistance.
Hospitals that voluntarily agree to become registered as a “certified enrollment entity” will be able to provide this in-person assistance. The guidebook explains how and offers practical information about staffing, training and information systems to do the job.
“California is at the forefront nationally in implementing the Affordable Care Act,” Anne McLeod, CHA senior vice president for health policy, said in a news release. “Enrolling the uninsured in health coverage programs will be a massive undertaking, and California’s hospitals will play a major role.”
The guidebook provides hospitals with information and strategies to achieve this goal. For more information, go to calhospital.org.