The Kaiser Family Foundation came out with a major study today. The Foundation studied programs that help consumers sign up for health insurance — a major part of the Affordable Care Act. The results are incredible. More than 12 million people reached out to consumer assistance programs over the last year. Those programs helped 7,000,000 people sign up for health insurance. Additionally, of the 7 million who signed up, 40% wouldn’t have received coverage without the help. These findings demonstrate just how vital programs like CHA are for everyday people.
As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts our health system, we need to learn how to build a better normal. Consumer assistance programs should be a key component of the rebuilding process. Millions of people don’t know if the ACA is still in force, or if their state expanded Medicaid. Additionally, and even worse, millions don’t know when they can apply for coverage. Furthermore, among consumers who weren’t helped by a program, two thirds said they would look for assistance. Finding good health insurance is complicated, and these programs help consumers get what they need. They are a vital part of our health system.
The need for consumer assistance programs could not be clearer. As we work reform our health care to meet all New Yorker’s needs, consumer assistance programs must be part of that process.