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How Insurers and Nonprofits Are Teaming Up To Educate Americans About Obamacare

By Sy Mukherjee on November 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

"How Insurers and Nonprofits Are Teaming Up To Educate Americans About Obamacare"

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After surviving a Supreme Court challenge and a presidential election, Obamacare is truly here to stay. But the federal government, states, and health care providers now have their work cut out for them as they begin implementing the biggest overhaul of the American health care system since the establishment of Medicare.

One of the biggest challenges will be making sure that Americans have accurate information about their health coverage options so they can successfully enroll in the health plan that’s right for them in 2014. Between states and the federal government instituting health insurance exchanges, expanding Medicaid pools, and issuing insurance subsidies to qualifying Americans, that’s a whole lot of change in a relatively small period of time — and it’s ripe for confusion and misinformation.

Luckily, some health insurers — who were once the most vocal opponents of Obamacare — are accepting health reform’s reality and teaming up with the nonprofit group Enroll America to make sure that the law is enacted properly and that Americans have the right information about which plans and subsidies they qualify for. As Bloomberg reports, the move has as much to do with health insurers’ rational self-interest as it does with the looking out for the American people’s well-being:

Enroll America, a nonprofit created two years ago, has gathered support from the insurers that opposed the law and consumer organizations such as Washington-based Families USA that supported it. The new organization plans a broad-based educational campaign to make uninsured people aware of the health-care law’s benefits and help them sign up, said Ron Pollack, Enroll America’s chairman.

The group will reach out to the 43 million uninsured whose participation will help strengthen the funding formula that holds the 2010 Affordable Care Act together. The new customers are expected to help offset added costs for the insurers from new regulations and taxes included in the law.

“Business people in the end have to be pragmatic,” Robert Laszewski, a health insurance industry consultant based in Alexandria, Virginia, said of the companies’ efforts to help the law succeed. “The industry has gotten over it.” [...]

“You want to mimic the success of employer plans, in which everyone is enrolled when they take a job,” said Sara Collins, a vice president at the Commonwealth Fund in New York, in a telephone interview. “It will be essential that everyone comes in to get the coverage that they’re eligible for.”

Since Obamacare ensures that insurers will no longer be able to partake in odious practices like denying Americans coverage based on a pre-existing condition, those firms now have a very real financial stake in making sure that Americans are insured and able to pay for their medical services. Otherwise, insurers run the risk of not having enough healthy Americans participating in their risk pools and helping to mitigate the costs of insuring the sicker Americans that they must now cover. The partnership between Enroll America and health insurance providers is one that will benefit insurance companies and the uninsured alike.

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