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Next big obstacle for Obama's Affordable Care Act? It's not just the Supreme Court.

The success of the new health care law depends on enrolling 30 million people in insurance plans. If officials don't clarify and simplify that enrollment process, the law will amount to a significant waste of time and taxpayer dollars.

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Over the next three years, as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes into effect, America’s state and local officials will be responsible for reaching out to more than 30 million individuals and enrolling them in publicly funded or subsidized health plans offered through state insurance exchanges. The majority of those individuals have low health literacy and will have difficulty finding, understanding, and using insurance information critical to getting them properly enrolled.

Failure to meet the enrollment goals of new health care law, however, will not only undermine the success of the new health law, but more importantly, will do little to expand health insurance coverage. Unless steps are taken to clarify the language and procedures surrounding the enrollment process, individuals are not likely to enroll, resulting in a significant waste of time, energy, and taxpayer dollars.

Properly enrolling in a health insurance plan, particularly a government funded or subsidized plan (such as Medicare or Medicaid), is a complex task. Individuals must navigate the system to find accurate and usable information. They need to understand eligibility guidelines, complete forms, and provide mandatory citizenship and financial documentation necessary for enrollment and for periodic reestablishment of eligibility.


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