Milwaukee County government is taking a proactive approach to help people understand and enroll in health plans as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is rolled out Oct. 1.
The county’s core services provide an opportunity to leverage contacts with the community into enrollment. Using existing resources and staff, county departments will help clients they are already serving understand and enroll in the ACA.
Milwaukee County also is partnering with the Milwaukee Enrollment Network to educate and assist residents with enrollment. The network is made up of several organizations, including the Milwaukee Healthcare Partnership, the State of Wisconsin, Covering Kids & Families and IMPACT 2-1-1.
“When the health care exchanges open, we know there will be a lot of questions. We’ve been working for months to make sure we can offer some help and clarity,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “Taxpayers should be assured that our efforts are focused on leveraging resources to benefit the community. We’re using our existing services and the cooperative relationships I’ve been building since taking office as a platform to expand enrollment.”
Numerous Milwaukee County Departments are taking part in the effort, including:
* The Disabilities Services Division has trained 60 staff members to help clients understand where to go and how to get services through ACA exchanges.
* The Behavioral Health Division (BHD) Community Services Branch has four staff trained as Certified Application Counselors, these staff members will provide individuals every opportunity to understand and enroll in insurance they may be eligible for under the ACA.
* Winged Victory, a program funded through BHD, was developed to assist people living with mental illness in applying for disability benefits and other entitlements available to them.
* The BHD has trained an intake service manager and two administration coordinators to help patients enroll. These staff members will provide individuals every opportunity to understand and enroll in insurance they may be eligible for under the ACA.
* The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is partnering with IMPACT 2-1-1 to provide people with accurate information about healthcare benefit options, and provide an over-the-phone screening to help make the most appropriate referral to an enrollment assistance provider, or directly to an ACA Marketplace website or call center.
* The BHD Community Services Branch is requiring all Central Intake Units to have trained Certified Application Counselors on staff to assist with enrollment into ACA exchanges or Medicaid.
* The Milwaukee County Department on Aging (MCDA) is providing training to senior advocates, staff and community service providers.
* MCDA is also partnering with SeniorLaw to provide information to people 60-64 years old on enrollment options.
Milwaukee County also is working with the Community Justice Council to pursue options for people in the criminal justice system to get enrolled.