Delaware panel reviews health care reform plan

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August 13, 2013

By Jennifer Springer


DOVER, Delaware: Soon those within Delaware will be bombarded with information about a new health insurance exchange being set up under the federal health care reform law.[1][2][3][4][5]

Public relations consultants for the Delaware's Healthcare Commission announced on August 7, 2013 a mass media campaign to educate the public about the exchange.[1][3][4][5] It will include advertisements on radio, on network and cable television and in newspapers.[5][1] Officials also plan to use social media to spread the word about the health care reform effort in Delaware.[1] Consultants will use posters, billboards and even bar coasters to deliver the message, with target audiences divided between those who are 29 and younger and those 30 and older.[1][3][5]

State officials expect to enroll about 35,000 people in the health insurance exchange starting in October 2013, for coverage effective January 1, 2014.[1][5]

In the meantime, organizations working with the health care commission are screening and hiring "marketplace guides" to help people learn about and enroll in the exchange.[1][2] "There's lots of activity planned in the coming weeks in advance of open enrollment," said commission chairwoman Bettina Riveros.[1][2][3]

State officials have contracted with four community organizations --Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care Inc., Brandywine Women's Health Associates of Wilmington, Westside Family Healthcare of Wilmington, Christiana Care Health Services-- to provide guidance and consumer assistance services releated to the exchange to those within the state about the new health insurance marketplace.[1][2] Those assisting with questions about the marketplace, or "assisters," will be paid with a $4 million grant from the federal government.[1][3]

They will be complemented by "navigators" who will provide similar education and enrollment services under direct federal contracts. Officials expect to announce which organizations have been selected to provide navigators on August 15, 2013.[1][2]

The marketplace "assisters" and "navigators" will be assisted by "certified application counselors," who will assist people in enrolling in the exchange.[1][5][3][2] Organizations eligible to provide those counselors include health centers, hospitals, and nonprofit social service agencies.[3][2]

Officials currently are awaiting certification by the federal government of proposed health insurance plans submitted by insurers who submitted applications for qualified health plans.[6][2][3]

Linda Nemes of the Department of Insurance said all plans submitted to state officials were recommended for federal certification, and that officials expect to announce the certification decisions in September 2013.[6][2][3]

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