ORGANIZATIONS ENCOURAGED TO BECOME “CHAMPIONS FOR COVERAGE” FOR THE ACA
By Ferd H. Mitchell and Cheryl C. Mitchell
The new Health Exchanges for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are scheduled to become operational on October 1, 2013. A large part of the ongoing effort is informational outreach to all individuals who may be able to benefit from the new opportunities to purchase subsidized health insurance or to enroll in the expanded Medicaid program (in states where available).
The “Champions for Coverage (CforC)” program provides an opportunity for all organizations to assist with this informational effort with only limited investment and paperwork.
The CforC activities are for professionals who want to conduct educational efforts about the new marketplaces (Health Exchanges) so that individuals will obtain the insights that they need to apply for coverage.
There is an opportunity for all public, nonprofit and for-profit organizations to participate. There are also some risks that may come with participation.
A list of participating CforC organizations is available for online review. A short online form can be filled out and submitted by any organization that wants to be recognized as participating. No legally binding contracts are required. Recognized organizations will have their names added to the CforC list.
A wide range of educational materials may now be accessed. CforC organizations are encouraged to send out emails to networks, host events, send out announcements, conduct educational sessions, and encourage social media linkages.
Many organizations may conclude that becoming a recognized CforC is a compatible activity that will fit in with other objectives and services.
Given all of the educational and outreach activities that are now “gearing up”, many organizations may decide that they would like to participate and be recognized without formal contracts and duties. And being posted on the CforC list may give a degree of recognition under conditions that are acceptable.
Implementation of the ACA is going to have a major impact on public administration. It seems likely that ASPA and its participating organizations and members will all be affected by these efforts for years to come.
However, there are potential risks involved in participating. Identification with the ACA runs the risk of impacting organizational “brands.” Strong feelings are being expressed in support of and against the ACA and identification as a supporting organization may antagonize critics.
Some types of liability may develop if incorrect advice is given and individuals fail to obtain coverage when they could have purchased subsidized insurance or enrolled in Medicaid.
If care is later needed, who will pay the cost? And who will pay the penalty (for not obtaining insurance) that was subsequently incurred?
The resolution of such issues must be reached by each organization, based on the specific situation in each case.
This is installment #7 in “The Affordable Care Act and Public Administration Series”.
Previous installments of this series have addressed the shift to action for implementation of the ACA (#1) with related struggles by federal agencies (#2), and the emergence of the ACA into public view (#3) leading to new issues (#4).