The Obamacare exchange must work

We are about 100 days out from the Wisconsin insurance exchange (aka marketplace) going “live” on Oct. 1, and the number one priority for a lot of stakeholders must be to work hard to make it successful.

Discussion and speculation about the uncertainty of exchange implementation must pivot to collaborative and proactive efforts to provide information and assistance necessary to get individuals and families covered through what at best will be a confusing situation, at least early on.

Gov. Scott Walker’s health care coverage platform aspires to place 250,000 uninsured Wisconsin citizens in either Medicaid (through expansion of eligibility to 100 percent of the FPL for low-income adults) or the insurance exchange for uninsured citizens with higher incomes. WHA will be focused on helping make the governor’s plan work.

Our single greatest priority must be on the 90,000 who will lose Medicaid coverage Jan. 1. WHA will work with the administration and others to 1) inform this population of their pending loss of public coverage; and 2) make sure that they have access to personal assistance necessary to determine their options within the new exchange.

This will be a daunting task as continuity of coverage past Jan. 1 will require 90,000 people to sign up and pay for first month coverage between Oct. 1 and Dec. 15. That’s over 1,000 individuals a day, seven days a week. The magnitude of resources required to get this done will be astounding. But get it done is a must and now a top priority for WHA, our members and like-minded organizations.

Look for additional information as well as specific areas for involvement in the coming weeks. And we’d love to learn of your interest and ideas going forward.

Steve Brenton is president of the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

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