Reform Roundup: Hospitals Take Lead in Promoting Healthcare Exchanges

As the October 1, 2013, enrollment date for public healthcare exchanges approaches, hospitals are considering their roles and opportunities to educate patients about their coverage options.

Modern Healthcare reports on a webcast this week in which the heads of the American Hospital Association, Catholic Health Association and Federation of American Hospitals all urged hospitals to inform patients about the exchanges and how to participate if eligible. They said that 75 percent to 85 percent of the people healthcare exchanges are designed to serve don’t think the law that can benefit them.

H&HN senior writer Paul Barr also covered the webcast, summarizing as follows: “Hospitals by now should be actively getting ready to assist patients with enrollment and educate the public and their own employees on the mechanics of the law.”

Becker’s Hospital Review published an in-depth analysis with recommendations for the 14 questions hospitals should ask to prepare for the launch of healthcare exchanges. The questions, compiled by ECG Management Consultants, include education focused guidance such as “What steps is your organization taking to improve understanding about health exchanges in your community?” and “Are consumers aware of the available plans and which plans you participate in?”

Finally, this WebMD article focuses on hospitals that are embracing their role as community educators on public healthcare exchanges. This except clarifies the stake hospitals have and their motivation to promote the exchanges:

As community groups, brokers and insurers prepare to recruit members for medical plans that go on sale in October under the health law, nobody has a bigger financial stake in their success than hospitals.

And few may work harder to sign consumers up for the Obamacare insurance marketplaces than hospitals themselves.

“This is a major project for the next year,” said Craig Cooper, spokesman for Genesis Health System of Iowa, which hopes to enroll thousands of patients and substantially cut its $60 million annual bill for people who can’t afford to pay for care. “It’s important to [the CEO] and it’s important to our organization.”

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