ACA Enrollment: Five Things You Can Do Now

written by Lisa Stand
August 26, 2013

Advocates for the homeless see the potential of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in their communities. The Alliance has blogged about the topic since the ACA passed in 2010, and reported on key implementation issues. By now, we know that the ACA opens up Medicaid to a new group – all adults with incomes under $15,000. We also know that next year 24 states will extend Medicaid to the new eligibility group. (For a map showing where your state stands on Medicaid, click here.)

With changes in Medicaid, thousands of vulnerable homeless people could have better access to medical services, behavioral health treatment and long-term supports. And communities could have more flexibility in funding safety net services, with opportunities to re-think the ways they pay for supportive housing.

But these possibilities cannot be realized unless people are actually enrolled in Medicaid and have the best coverage possible. People experiencing homelessness will need help getting started. As ACA enrollment gets under way this fall, homeless advocates should be a part of efforts to sign people up. Here are five things you can do right now:

  1. Visit healthcare.gov. Beginning on October 1, 2013, everyone will be able to choose coverage through a new Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace at healthcare.gov is the entry point for anyone wanting to find out about Medicaid eligibility. Visiting it now will give you some idea of how enrollment will work.
  2. Check out this short brief from The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that explains the different ways you can help people enroll: “Assistance Roles to Help Consumers Apply & Enroll in Health Care Coverage Through the Marketplace.”
  3. Contact community partners who may already be working on outreach and enrollment. Health care agencies on the frontline, such as community health centers, will be most likely to have information about strategies in underserved communities.
  4. Visit the website HHS has created  for community leaders and champions in outreach and enrollment: marketplace.cms.gov.
  5. Read the Alliance’s own enrollment brief, “What You Need to Know Now,” which we recently updated with more detailed information on ACA enrollment and homeless assistance.