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Lessons Learnt With The Covid19 Pandemic

The Covid19 pandemic is perhaps the harshest lesson nature has taught us. It has brought us down on our knees and crumbled our lofty perceptions about our omnipotence. The pandemic underlined the fragility of the global healthcare system, especially healthcare insurance. Suddenly, people are unaware that the insurance is inaccessible, unaffordable, or tied to someone's employment. It is a crisis of unprecedented proportions that's left people scrambling to find health insurance as they lose jobs that provided them with the same.

Expanding access to health coverage is more essential now than ever. As we are hit by one pandemic wave after the other, we need reliable insurance solution providers like CoverMe who can get things done the right way. With its robust insurance verification system, CoverMe can expedite the process to benefit the patient.

States can also implement definitive measures to make insurance more accessible, especially for front-line workers and those who have lost their jobs. And let's not forget uninsured youth and young adults across the US who are equally vulnerable.

Our article explains how Presumptive Eligibility can serve as a life-saving tool to protect these vulnerable youth from the jaws of the pandemic. But first, let's check out what our states can do to ease access to health insurance.

4 Measures To Make Health Insurance Easily Accessible

1. Expand and amplify Medicaid

Did you know that fourteen states are yet to expand Medicaid? That leaves nearly 2.3 million people without insurance coverage. Ironically, this coverage gap means that these 2.3 million people earn too little to receive tax credits or earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. So, here's what states can do:

  • Identify those who are eligible but have not yet enrolled for Medicaid
  • Conduct data matching with other programs to find these people
  • Partner with resources like food banks and faith organizations
  • Use free and paid media to improve their efforts.

2. Make Medicaid simple and accessible

Enrollment for Medicaid grew to 82.8 million in May 2021. This number is an increase of 11.5 million from enrollment in February 2020, which is not surprising during a crisis of this proportion. The question, however, is how will the short-staffed system handle all the paperwork. Simplifying Medicaid is not easy. but it is possible by:

  • Streamlining the application process
  • Automating the enrollment process
  • Eliminating unnecessary paperwork
  • Automating eligibility verification processes
  • Expanding Presumptive Eligibility
  • Extending reasonable opportunity periods
  • Maximizing self-attestation

3. Implement a "state-only" Medicaid program

States can provide a silver lining for Medicaid, especially for essential workers and ineligible people. States are bestowed with the funds to cover ineligible people rather than depending on or splitting up the costs with the Federal government. This option opens an avenue to provide medical coverage for thousands of people, even though the state has to bear all the expenses. Rather than mulling about solely bearing the costs, states can assist many essential workers by embracing this option during this crisis.

4. Provide special enrollment periods

State-run health insurance exchanges may require additional enrollment periods beyond those required by the Affordable Care Act. So far, only 12 states have chosen to implement a special enrollment period, allowing people to enroll during the COVID-19 crisis.

Let's now explore how the role of Presumptive Eligibility in protecting the vulnerable youth.

How Presumptive Eligibility Serves As A Critical Tool

The Covid-19 pandemic exposed many failings in the healthcare system, including the lack of health insurance for young people. In 2018, 21% of youth between the ages of 18-25 lacked insurance. Unfortunately, the current system allows care clinics to legally deny treatment to those without insurance. A system like this presents a challenge to overburdened hospitals unable to treat yet another influx of patients and individuals without insurance who are forced to seek necessary treatment in hospitals.

This is where Presumptive Eligibility (PE) can lend a helping hand. As we know, PE enables people to apply for Medicaid based on the presumption that they are eligible. For presumptive eligibility screening, only qualified entities based on self-attestation are eligible. This means the qualified entities do not need to verify the information provided.

PE lasts for 60 days, giving people enough time to qualify for healthcare services. People are also encouraged to apply for permanent Medicaid coverage.

Although the Affordable Care Act made PE available nationwide, only 31 states have PE. Besides, the policy is also limited to pregnant women and children up to 18 years of age. Childless adults do not qualify for PE in nearly 25 of the 31 states. The best solution right now is to aggressively implement PE for youth and young adults without insurance coverage.

To improve the effectiveness of PE, states should:

  • Expand qualified entities to include urgent-care and child-care facilities, testing sites, and youth-serving agencies.
  • Relax nationwide restrictions on hospital PE to encourage youth to seek hospital care without exposing themselves to Covid-19.
  • Allow people to seek care at any site that Medicaid, including telehealth and primary care doctors.
  • Provide all individuals to Covid-19 with one period of eligibility per Covid-19 exposure.
  • Provide essential workers with multiple eligibility periods, given their risk of multiple exposures.
  • Make immigrants eligible for PE during the pandemic regardless of their documentation and the standard five-year waiting period.

Aggressive implementation of PE could be a promising and effective strategy, especially during dire times. After all, this pandemic is the right time to make our healthcare system more applicable, functional, and useful for every citizen of this country.

Invest In Your Wellbeing

It is high time we thought about investing in sustainable and practically sensible changes in our healthcare system. Adopting CoverMe's healthcare marketplace solutions is a wise move that helps bridge the financial and social service gaps faced by hospitals and their uninsured patients. CoverMe's automated solutions provide real-time verifications and several enrollment options for government, financial, and social assistance programs. Schedule a demo today and allow us to help you understand the benefits of teaming with CoverMe.

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