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Is your organization prepared to navigate the new healthcare landscape? That was the question posed by health policy experts in a NACDS TSE Insight Session Sunday.
Although employers have been granted a deadline extension on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s mandate to provide health coverage options for their employees, most provisions of the ACA are scheduled to go into effect next year. With those provisions will come an expansion of Medicaid as tens of millions of Americans become eligible for health coverage through health insurance exchanges.
Thomas Merrill, senior analyst with Leavitt Partners, discusses healthcare exchanges during a TSE Insight Session Sunday.
Those exchanges will take many forms, according to Aaron Larrimore, policy analyst with the National Association of Medicaid Directors, and Thomas Merrill, senior analyst with Leavitt Partners. The two analysts sketched the outlines of what is likely to be a complex and confusing set of coverage options for patients.
“An exchange is essentially a place where people can go to buy and sell commodities,” Merrill said. In terms of health care, he said, that will “hopefully” give the consumer the ability to make choices among various health plans in terms of deductible costs, premiums, coverage and service levels.
Pharmacists, the speakers predicted, will be among those called on to help explain the options to them. And those choices will have to be made relatively soon.
“For Medicaid directors … there’s a lot of drive to make this a reality in a short amount of time,” Larrimore noted. Open enrollment in the exchanges is mandated by law to be available to Medicaid patients Oct. 1, “and by Jan. 1 Medicaid and the exchanges are supposed to be able to provide the care,” he said.