12 Days Until Open Enrollment: What You Can Do to Make it a Success!

November 3, 2014
In 12 days, the open enrollment period will begin for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Last year, over 8 million people enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace. While those 8 million people had 6 months to enroll last year in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Americans this year will only have 3 months, until February 15, to enroll. In addition, most individuals without insurance who were easy to target for enrollment already enrolled during the last open enrollment period, making it more difficult to enroll the same number of people this year. On top of that, a recent survey showed that nine in ten of the uninsured do not know that open enrollment begins on November 15 and 66% of the uninsured know little or nothing about the health insurance marketplace. These statistics illustrate the importance of educating Americans about the open enrollment period and the opportunities available to help the uninsured. Congregations can play a key role in educating others about the Affordable Care Act and the Marketplace. Congregations can host community education forums, study sessions exploring the connections between Jewish texts and health care or invite staff members for U.S. Representatives, Senators, the state insurance commissioner or public officials from their U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services region to speak. Congregations can also highlight information about how to enroll in newsletters and bulletins and partner with organizations, such as Enroll America, that have experience with enrolling the uninsured. In addition, as the open enrollment period approaches and more resources become available, the RAC will be updating our health care resources for congregations and advocates. The Affordable Care Act did not just create the Federal Marketplace, it also expanded Medicaid coverage to include people with incomes of up to 138% of the federal poverty line. Unfortunately, the 2012 Supreme Court ruling in National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) v. Sebelius made expansion voluntary for each state. Although many states have expanded Medicaid, providing coverage for millions of Americans who were uninsured, 23 states still have not expanded MedicaidTake action now and urge your state to expand Medicaid! Our tradition teaches us that human life is of infinite value and that the preservation of life supersedes almost all other considerations. Maimonides, in fact, lists health care among the ten most important communal services that needs to be offered by a city to its residents (Mishneh Torah, Sefer Hamadda IV:23). Providing health care is therefore not just an obligation for the patient and the doctor, but for society as well. Do your part today to help Americans gain health care coverage through education and advocacy.

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