Helping Consumer Groups Engage With the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Strengthening the role of consumers in development of health reform's eligibility and enrollment policies and systems

The Center for Children and Families helped state-level consumer advocates provide input into the development of a single, web-based application process for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and private coverage available through the new health insurance marketplaces.

Dates of Project: Mid-July 2012 through Mid-July 2013

Description: The Center staff created a toolkit—Eligibility and Enrollment Systems: An Advocate’s IT Toolkit—to prepare local advocates to speak knowledgably and pose critical questions about the IT systems state officials are developing to comply with the ACA.

The toolkit identifies 10 top consumer issues, provides background information on those issues, and suggests key questions advocates should pose to government officials about the functions and features of the IT systems.

“State policy experts and consumer advocates were telling us, that as non-IT experts, they did not feel prepared to provide input on these systems. We felt than an IT toolkit could help consumer advocates get up to speed.”—Tricia Brooks, MBA, senior fellow at the Center for Children and Families

Staff also organized a dozen meetings—including those held in person, by conference call, and through webinars—with a core group of five officials at the Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services and consumer advocates from 16 organizations in 15 states. The meetings were held to present the consumer’s perspective on the online application process for Medicare, CHIP and the health insurance marketplaces.