The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides new health insurance opportunities to millions of Americans. Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood (HMRF) grantees can play a vital role in helping participants and their family members learn how to enroll and get insured to improve their health and well-being. This is a great opportunity for fathers and young men of color who are disproportionately uninsured.
Many HMRF participants and family members including spouses, parents, children, and grandparents under age 65 may qualify for health insurance coverage through Health Insurance Marketplace, often at a subsidized rate. Others may be eligible for expanded Medicaid. Making sure HMRF participants and their family members are enrolled in health insurance can help promote family self-sufficiency. OFA especially encourages you to reach out to fathers and young men of color. You can make a difference! Open enrollment for 2014 coverage began October 1, 2013 and will end March 31, 2014; as always, individuals may apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at any time.
Photo: Project PULSE, Family Resource Center of Raleigh, an OFA Healthy Marriage Grantee participates in the NRFC Fall 2014 Fatherhood Buzz connecting men to health resources.
Here are some simple ways you can contribute to the outreach effort:
1. Connect to your state's Medicaid program. Medicaid eligibility has been expanded in many states, and even where Medicaid has not been expanded, there are many low-income individuals eligible for the program who have not signed up. In addition, many uninsured children can be covered through the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), even if their parents do not otherwise qualify for Medicaid. You can find information on your state Medicaid and CHIP programs here: http://medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-State/By-State.html
2. Share information about health insurance opportunities with HMRF program participants, family members, and staff, and encourage them to visit HealthCare.gov or call the Health Insurance Marketplace at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Through the Health Insurance Marketplace, individuals can navigate to resources which will help them get free or subsidized health insurance for themselves and family members.
3. Post information about the ACA and the Health Insurance Marketplace on your HMRF website and include the Healthcare.gov widget on your website and in your email signature block.
4. Invite local health coverage experts to speak about the Health Insurance Marketplace at your meetings, self-help groups, and other events.
5. Encourage young adults about their options. Don’t forget individuals between ages 19 and 26 have coverage opportunities under their parent’s employer-sponsored or individually purchased health plan. Encourage them to speak with their parents to see if they have coverage, or to encourage their parents to obtain coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace
6. Build your capacity to provide assistance. Visit Marketplace.cms.gov for training and materials on how your HMRF program can help participants navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace and order badges and other partner materials to help spread the word online, through newsletters, and other take-home items.
7. Identify staff to become trained certified application counselors who can assist participants with enrollment.
8. Check out these resources and some tools posted to expand your message.
By promoting healthcare opportunities and staying aware of new information and updates on the Health Insurance Marketplace, HMRF grantees can help families get enrolled, renew coverage, and stay informed.
Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, Healthy Marriage & Responsible Fatherhood