The blog post below was written by Stefan Kostolitz, one of the three amazing Outreach and Eligibility Associates who work throughout the state at CHC. This hardworking team has been enrolling people and navigating them through the new health care marketplace this past year.
Last Wednesday, July 2nd, CHC was paid a visit by U.S. Senator and local Nutmegger, Chris Murphy. Senator Murphy visited to hear our health care enrollment advisors speak about their experience enrolling our patients and community members in insurance under the Affordable Care Act (A.C.A.).
Connecticut emerged as one of the country’s leaders in health insurance enrollment under the new law, enrolling over 208,000 residents in insurance. The organization of Connecticut’s insurance marketplace, Access Health CT, was a key reason for our state’s success. However, without the collective help of state lawmakers, non-profit organizations, volunteers, and community health centers Connecticut could not have accomplished as much as it has.
Here at CHC, our A.C.A. Enrollment Team and Access to Care staff enrolled about 2,000 patients in health insurance and assisted over 4,500. Over the 6-month open enrollment period, CHC held 15 enrollment fairs, provided outreach to the community, and acted as a resource for information on the new law.
Chris Murphy was interested in learning from our enrollment specialists about the successes, challenges, and surprises of our nation’s first open enrollment period. Senator Murphy was given a tour of Middletown clinic and shown the multitude of services CHC provides its patients. His visit ended at the top of the building in our roof garden, overlooking the Main Street and the Connecticut River.
There, Senator Murphy sat with our A.C.A. enrollment team and asked them about their experiences with the new law. Shannon Bali, one of our enrollment associates, expressed her excitement about working for nation-wide health care reform. The enrollment team shared stories of how surprised and excited our patients felt at being offered Husky/Medicaid or an Access Health CT plan for the first time. The A.C.A. team commented on the challenges of explaining the complicated process of health insurance to consumers.
Senator Murphy spoke to the room about the how the A.C.A. exceeded the expectations of many Americans. He shared that keeping Americans enrolled in insurance and teaching them how to use their new plans’ benefits will be a future difficulty. Overall, he was hopeful of the law’s ability to help uninsured Americans and eager to gather ideas of how it can improve.
With the recent celebration of July 4th, Senator Murphy’s visit was a welcome reminder of our country’s potential to make great change for the betterment of our citizens. With the Affordable Care Act in place more Americans (including Nutmeggers) will be able to access a fundamental right to health care.