When Get Covered America came to Illinois before the first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act in 2013, there was a lot of work to be done. At that time 78% of the uninsured had not heard of the health insurance marketplace and were unaware of the new health coverage options or opportunities for financial help available to them for the first time. The initial awareness gap was daunting, but hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans stood to benefit from the marketplace and needed to know how the Affordable Care Act could help them.
Many Milestones Through Collaboration
Fortunately, there were a number of stakeholders like Health & Disability Advocates (HDA), the Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC), Alivio Medical Center and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, among others, eager and ready for the challenge ahead. This commitment helped achieve many of the goals laid out in the beginning. After two successful open enrollment periods, nearly 350,000 Illinoisans have enrolled in health insurance through the marketplace, and hundreds of thousands more have received coverage through expanded Medicaid and CHIP. Working together towards the same mission, Get Covered America and its partner organizations increased awareness and provided enrollment resources for consumers across the state.
Stepping Back to Move Forward
Because of the great work that has happened on the ground in Illinois, Get Covered America will be stepping back with full confidence in capable partners like HDA, CBHC and many others—such as Family Guidance Centers and Ada S. McKinley—to continue this important work to make health care enrollment a permanent part of communities. It’s clear that the coalition of partners who have come together on this issue have made great strides over the past two years. As the insurance landscape changes and the number of uninsured Illinoisans continues to decrease, Get Covered America wants to make sure that resources are allocated in the smartest and most effective way.
While Get Covered America won’t have an active outreach presence on-the-ground in Illinois moving forward, the organization will continue to support partners in the state with cutting edge data, best practices, tools and resources. Get Covered America will refine and continue to offer digital tools like the Get Covered Connector while also introducing new programs, like training and support for local partners and health insurance literacy resources for the newly insured.
The Enrollment Challenge Ahead
Just released by Get Covered America, the State of Enrollment Report takes a critical look at the lessons learned and what still needs to be done to get Illinois covered. Using on-the-ground knowledge and data analysis, the report identified several key initiatives integral to maximizing the number of Illinoisans who enroll in coverage. This is a great resource for partners on the ground and the foundation for a sustainable coalition for years to come.
The Get Covered America team is thrilled at what has been accomplished in Illinois so far, but there’s still important work to be done. While more Illinoisans have health coverage than ever before, there are still too many who remain uninsured and need the facts about how the Affordable Care Act can help them and their families. On-the-ground partners like CBHC, Family Guidance Centers and Alivio Medical Center will continue this work and make health care enrollment an institutional reality for years to come. And Get Covered America looks forward to supporting their efforts.
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