We are working to understand health care reform impacts to our care and coverage programs and to formulate a strategy that enables us to continue serving the uninsured and underinsured populations.
When the major access provisions of health reform are implemented in 2014 (and fully implemented by 2019), some 32 million people will gain health coverage. Much of this expansion will happen through two basic mechanisms: Medicaid and new state-run health insurance exchanges that extend free or subsidized coverage to low-income individuals and families.
It’s been estimated that more than 20 million people will remain uninsured. We will need to understand the populations that remain uninsured in order to design Kaiser Permanente’s care and coverage programs to meet their needs. New products and programs should specifically address the populations left without access to health care after reform is implemented. And we will need to continuously combat what may be a new complacency about the uninsured and programs that serve them. The bottom line is that the need for Kaiser Permanente’s care and coverage programs will continue.
Additionally, there will be the work of moving 32 million newly insured people into coverage. Community Benefit has historically supported work that improves access, either through our own Charitable Care and Coverage programs, or by supporting outside programs that provide access. Helping some of the newly insured people find and access the programs they become eligible for in 2014 is fully aligned with our Community Benefit access goal. We are in the process of looking at our eligibility and enrollment processes to transform how they can be more consumer-friendly. Additionally, we are advocating for a “no wrong door” approach – an approach that will allow the newly insured to complete their eligibility and enrollment process on-line, by phone, at kiosks, at the library, schools, and hopefully, at Kaiser Permanente facilities as well.