How will Obamacare Affect Local Public Health in 2014?
By Nar Ramkissoon, MPH
The percentage of people with insurance walking into your health department will increase throughout the year.
Changes to the Affordable Care Act effective at the start of 2014 promise to have a big impact on how local health departments do business. The changes are all positive too as the same people that have visited your local health department in the past will continue to use your services, but now be able to pay for them through insurance.
No matter what ambiguity exists with the law, the percentage of people with insurance walking into your health department will increase, and the number of people insured is only going to increase throughout the year. With an influx of new and existing patients with private insurance, it’s more important than ever to take advantage by having a smart billing system in place. The sooner you start billing, the sooner you’ll receive reimbursements for services at your health department.
Affordable Care Act Changes for 2014
Who Has Coverage? The Affordable Care Act has allowed millions of new people access to affordable health insurance. There’s expected to be a large surge in demand for health services during the opening months of 2014 as people with insurance for the first time get their various ailments checked out. This pent up demand could raise claims by as much as 5%1 (Comprehensive Assessment of ACA Factors that will Affect Individual Market Premiums in 2014, Milliman).
No More Pre-existing Conditions. People without employer-sponsored coverage will be able to purchase health insurance despite having a pre-existing condition for the first time.
What is Covered? Starting in 2014 all new health plans are required to provide coverage for “Essential Health Benefits” that typically were not previously included in private health plans. These types of services can include behavioral health, maternity, and outpatient prescription medication.
New Regulations. The most important change is in how much (or little) premiums can differ between people. Premiums can only differ between two people based on age, location, family size, and smoking, making insurance more affordable for everybody.
Financial Assistance. Federal tax credits and lower cost-sharing benefits are available to millions of people, making health insurance more affordable.
All of these changes make it easier for people to get insurance that you can then bill for reimbursement for health services provided.
Local health departments also have the responsibility to ensure the Affordable Care Act continues to succeed by getting more and more people to enroll. The key here is getting younger and healthier people to sign up for insurance, as they will help keep premiums lower for everybody throughout the program. Stress the importance of having insurance, and how easy it is to sign up through the Affordable Care Act, no matter how healthy a person may be.
Our breadth of expertise in public health, Medicare & Medicaid, and private insurance, allows us to fully manage the complex billing process for you while allowing your staff to focus on providing care — not paying for it. Find out how easy starting or improving your billing program can be by registering for a Free Revenue Performance Evaluation today.
1Comprehensive Assessment of ACA Factors that will Affect Individual Market Premiums in 2014, Milliman.