VIDEO: As Open Enrollment 2015 Approaches, a Question for Connecticut

This article was written by Jenn Whinnem, digital media manager for the Connecticut Health Foundation.

Whether you call it the Affordable Care Act, health reform, or Obamacare, it’s working in Connecticut. Access Health CT (AHCT), the state’s insurance marketplace, announced last month that the percentage of uninsured Connecticut residents was cut in half. Of the 257,000 who enrolled in health insurance during the first open enrollment period, 53 percent of them were uninsured at the time.

Let’s not lose sight of what this means. This means they have access to—and have started using—important benefits like doctor visits, prescriptions, preventive care and more.

But why did it work so well? How was AHCT so successful in getting more people access to better care?

For African Americans, Latinos, and people from groups earning lower incomes, the answer is simple and intuitive: in-person assistance. A knowledgeable, trusted person who could sit with a consumer and answer their questions about health insurance and financial assistance options. And for people who have never had health insurance before, such assistance was vital for helping enroll the hard-to-reach, underserved communities in our state.

Given how important in-person assistance was for this population, the Connecticut Health Foundation (CT Health) is concerned about the future of the Navigators and In-Person Assisters (NIPA) Program. Federal dollars that supported the program in 2013-2014 are no longer available to states like Connecticut with state facilitated marketplaces.

We don’t want to see Connecticut go back to a time when the uninsured rate was eight per cent. In this video, CT Health president & CEO Patricia Baker asks for greater transparency around Connecticut’s plan to ensure that consumers have access to in-person assistance as we head into a period of enrollments and renewals starting November 15th.