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Montefiore Launches Health Exchange Enrollment with Two-Fold Approach to Educate and Inform Community

Extensive Efforts Underway to Ensure Bronx Residents Have Access to Vital Medical Services  

NEW YORK (October 3, 2013) – Montefiore Medical Center today announced its two-fold approach for informing the community about the October 1 launch of the health insurance exchange marketplace open enrollment period provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With a workforce of more than 19,000 employees, Montefiore is educating its own associates to help spread the message while also conducting on-the-ground community outreach about the State’s health exchange program called New York State of Health.

The exchange will offer 2.7 million people in New York State, including nearly 270,000 uninsured Bronx residents, the opportunity to gain vital health insurance coverage. It is a “one-stop-shop” where consumers can search for and enroll in a plan that’s right for them. Consumers can compare different insurance options, check eligibility for government assistance programs like Medicaid and for financial assistance. It’s important to note that people with pre-existing conditions can get insurance through the exchange. The open enrollment period lasts six months starting on October 1 and ending March 31, 2014. Upon full implementation of the ACA, more than 1 million NY State residents, including nearly 100,000 people in the Bronx, will be newly insured.

“As the largest employer in the Bronx, and a trusted source of healthcare information, we have thousands of associates who can serve as ambassadors, spreading the word about the availability of affordable health insurance,” said Steven M. Safyer, M.D., president and CEO, Montefiore Medical Center. “With so many uninsured or underinsured residents in the Bronx, the health and well-being of our community will be greatly impacted by the increased availability of health insurance. Our patients now have the opportunity to select an affordable plan that suits their needs, and we’ll be right there to help them through that process in English, Spanish and many other languages spoken in the Bronx.”

Montefiore started disseminating information about the health exchanges to its associates in August. Materials were developed in English and Spanish in order to reach as many people as possible. A variety of channels are being used to ensure the message touches everyone and provides adequate information for Montefiore associates to then educate their families, friends and anyone else to whom they speak in the community. Several approaches used to internally share information include providing educational group presentations; reaching out through newsletters and online assets, like the Intranet and its social networking site, Yammer; and sharing information on electronic screens throughout the hospital.

To reach the external audience, Montefiore has a team of outreach coordinators who attend community events and speak at numerous venues, including churches and mosques in the area. Additionally, certified application counselors (CACs) will provide free in-person assistance to individuals as they check their eligibility and enroll in health coverage. In advance of Oct. 1, Montefiore deployed the CACs in the community to educate consumers and collect their information in order to provide assistance once open enrollment started. Moving forward, CACs will attend events in the community where they will provide fair and impartial information in English and Spanish about enrollment, plans, premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies that help offset the cost of coverage.

Additionally, with its partner, the Children’s Health Fund, Montefiore received federal funding for outreach and enrollment assistance programs at its South Bronx Health Center. Montefiore also is working closely with other community partners such as the Bronx Community Health Network, to expand outreach to uninsured patients at community health centers, increase awareness among other community partners and educate health center personnel to assist patients in navigating the exchanges.

“We want everyone to be aware of these new health exchanges. In addition to creating opportunities to buy health insurance, we think the exchanges will help some people realize they are already eligible for Medicaid and can now gain coverage. This will be a win-win for everyone involved,” said Kate Rose, senior director, public policy & government relations, Montefiore Medical Center. “At this important moment in the history of the U.S. healthcare system, we’re proud to be a pioneer through innovative efforts to insure the public and manage their care.”

Consumers can enroll via the website, by phone, mail or in person. Those who enroll by mid-December will have health coverage beginning January 1, 2014. For more information about the New York State of Health exchange, visit http://nystateofhealth.ny.gov/.