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Providing Outreach and Enrollment Assistance: Lessons Learned from Community Health Centers in Massachusetts

As states and communities gear up to provide outreach and enrollment assistance under the ACA, the enrollment assistance experience of health centers in Massachusetts, where a major expansion of health coverage was implemented six years ago, offers valuable lessons that can help to inform current and emerging efforts by health centers and other community-based organizations to reach and enroll millions of low-income, uninsured Americans in health insurance.

Community Health Centers: A 2012 Profile and Spotlight on Implications of State Medicaid Expansion Decisions

Community health centers are an integral part of the health care safety-net, providing access to care for over 21 million people in the U.S. The ACA made a major investment in the health center program, and expanded health coverage will provide new revenues to health centers, permitting grant funding to support care of the uninsured to go further. This annual update provides a pre-ACA snapshot of community health centers and also examines newly reported data on “look-alike” health centers. In addition, the brief highlights significant differences between the profiles and revenue situations of health centers in Medicaid expansion and non-expansion states in 2012, before the ACA coverage expansions took effect. Finally, it considers financial challenges facing health centers and the implications of state Medicaid decisions for health centers and their capacity to ensure access to care for low-income communities they serve.

Federal and State Standards for “Essential Community Providers” under the ACA and Implications for Women’s Health

Safety net providers such as community health centers and family planning clinics have served a significant role in the provision of primary care and reproductive health care services to low-income and uninsured people, particularly women. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has a provision aimed at assuring that newly-insured individuals, as well as those without coverage, can continue seeing their trusted safety net providers, also called Essential Community Providers (ECPs). This brief reviews the definition of ECPs, examines the federal and state rules that govern the extent to which plans must include these providers in their networks, identifies the variation from state to state, and discusses the particular importance of these rules and providers for women’s access to care.