On January 25, United States of Care (USofCare) partnered with Softheon to host a webinar following the conclusion of the Healthcare.gov enrollment period. USofCare Chief Program Officer, Kristin Wikelius, spoke with three health care experts to assess emerging trends, highlight the latest innovations, and to discuss how to better serve our communities in the future.
USofCare’s Wikelius was joined by Suzanne Bierman, who serves as Medicaid Administrator for the state of Nevada, Terry Burke, Senior advisor in the ACA Exchange Market at Oliver Wyman, and the General Manager and Senior Vice President of Health Plan Solutions at Softheon, Kevin Deutsch.
The webinar took place just 10 days after the end of marketplace open enrollment, which reached a record high, expanding and re-establishing health care coverage for about 14 million individuals. This year’s enrollment was boosted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-related policies, which made coverage more affordable and allowed more time to enroll. At the same time, COVID-19 also shines a spotlight on long-standing inequities in the health care system, further emphasizing the value and need for affordable, understandable care.
In introducing the speakers, Wikelius said, “While centering people in all our work – USofCare is urging policymakers to make targeted changes to build health care that is more affordable, dependable, personalized, and understandable. Enrolling in coverage — and staying enrolled — is an integral part of that affordable, dependable access.”
Throughout the conversation, the speakers discussed how efforts to support enrollment in health care coverage must revolve around the individual. With over 250 different care plans available, Softheon’s Deutsch emphasized the need to invest in consumer education to allow individuals to find the plan that best suits them and their families. This type of individual care is crucial to making sure people retain coverage throughout the year, and Burke suggested that the services which establish human connections with real people best support enrollment. Bierman also highlighted the ongoing need to help facilitate successful transitions between Medicaid into a Marketplace plan for individuals navigating the system, especially as the nation’s public health emergency ends.
Kevin Deutsch presented Softheon’s model for retention of health care coverage, which was able to make predictions with 80 percent accuracy based on the enrollment data and three months of payment history for over 90 carriers.
Softheon’s model illustrated that health care providers see higher rates of retention if the individual is:
- Receiving subsidies for their care rather than covering the full payment themselves.
- Enrolling for their families rather than as an individual.
- Using autopay rather than manual pay.
Health care experts continue to find ways to make care more accessible by executing enrollment strategies that better emphasize the inequalities that exist in our country today. The panel discussed innovative efforts such as sending individuals invoices they can pay for in retail stores, as well as expanding community outreach in order to “meet the member in the moment,” and setting up payment plans that allow individuals to retain coverage even if they can’t meet their payment that month. Innovative strategies like these will help to make health care more accessible for millions of people who are impacted by financial or structural barriers, allowing them to receive the care they need in order to live healthy and full lives.
USofCare works with experts and diverse groups to make health care more equitable and better suited to individuals and their families. For the last two years, USofCare has spoken with thousands of people in every state about their feelings and experiences with our current health care system. And USofCare is harnessing those lessons to drive policy change that reflects people’s needs. This work aligns with our mission to create a health care system that is understandable, personalized, affordable, and dependable for all people who need it.
Thanks to Softheon, and to Suzanne Bierman, Terry Burke, and Kevin Deutsch for sharing your insights on how people across the health system can continue to maximize enrollment and ensure affordable health care coverage reaches all people.
It’s clear there are many opportunities to better communicate with people about their coverage and to make sure that they can depend on that coverage as their lives change. United States of Care will continue building partnerships to achieve our ambitious mission to make health care dependable, affordable, personalized, and understandable.