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Marketplace Exchange Will Partner With DC Groups to Help Educate Consumers About Health Coverage Options and Help Them Enroll

Friday, May 24, 2013
Community-based organizations, faith-based groups, health centers and other qualified groups must apply by June 24.
The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority is seeking applications from community-based organizations who want to help individuals, families and small businesses learn about, apply for, and enroll in health insurance starting October 1. 
 
“To reach the uninsured men and women living in the District, we will have to be creative, strategic, and targeted in our approach,” said Mohammad Akhter, M.D., chairman of the Exchange Board Authority. “These are among the most vulnerable of our neighbors and we must make every effort possible to reach them and help them gain the benefits they need.”
 
Qualified groups will help educate residents about their rights and responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act. They will also provide in-person expert help to individuals and families who live in DC seeking to enroll in private health insurance plans.   Some will also assist small business owners seeking to cover their employees.  The goal is to make it as easy as possible for people to learn about new health coverage options, determine the amount of financial help they can get to reduce premiums, and to enroll in the plan of their choice.  The Exchange will provide extensive training for such entities. The Exchange will also partner with health insurance agents and brokers to provide consumers and small businesses with advice on selecting health plans. 
 
The Exchange Board engaged community leaders in designing a program tailored to the needs of the District. Two groups of diverse stakeholders – including consumer and patient advocates, small businesses, insurers and brokers, and others – helped the Board estimate the resources needed to reach residents and small businesses and to shape a comprehensive and aggressive outreach and to develop criteria for qualifying.  The Assister Grant Estimates Policy Working Group was co-chaired by David Chandra, Senior Policy Analyst, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Barbara Lang, president and CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce. The Consumer Assistance and Outreach Advisory Committee is co-chaired by Teresa Waters, Senior Director of Human Resources and Administration at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and Elaine Saly, a Health Policy Analyst at Families USA.
 
“The fact that the DC community came together to design this effort bodes well for its ultimate success in expanding access to affordable, high-quality health insurance for residents and business owners in our city,” said Kate Sullivan Hare, a member of the Exchange Board and chair of its Marketing and Consumer Outreach Working Committee.
 
The Exchange Authority encourages organizations based in the District of Columbia to apply and is especially interested in partnering with: 
  • Faith-Based Organizations
  • Community Based Health Providers
  • Civic Organizations
  • Patient and Consumer Advocacy Organizations
  • Community Based Human Services Organizations
  • Business Associations
  • Trade Associations
  • Professional Associations
  • Cultural Associations
  • Legal Assistance Organizations
The Exchange will host a question and answer session on Wednesday, June 5 for interested organizations to ask program staff questions, and receive clarification about the application process. This is scheduled from 10 am to 12 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G St NW, room A-5. Questions submitted via e-mail up to June 11 will also be answered.  All questions and answers will be posted on the Exchange webpage at www.hbx.dc.gov.
 
For more information and guidelines on how to apply, visit www.hbx.dc.gov.