Application simplified
CMS tries to make new law consumer-friendly
May 05, 2013 | 1268 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this week announced that the application for health coverage has been simplified and significantly shortened. The application for individuals without health insurance has been reduced from 21 to three pages, and the application for families is reduce by two-thirds. The consumer friendly forms are much shorter than industry standards for health insurance applications today.

In addition, for the first time consumers will be able to fill out one simple application and see their entire range of health insurance options, including plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and tax credits that will help pay for premiums.

The applications released Tuesday, which can be submitted starting on Oct. 1, can be found here: http://cciio.cms.gov/resources/other/index.html#hie

“Consumers will have a simple, easy-to-understand way to apply for health coverage later this year,” said CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The application for individuals is now three pages, making it easier to use and significantly shorter than industry standards. This is another step complete as we get ready for a consumer-friendly marketplace that will be open for business later this year.”

The online version of the application will be a dynamic experience that shortens the application process based on individuals’ responses. The paper application was simplified and tailored to meet personal situations based on important feedback from consumer groups.

Consumers can apply online, by phone or paper when open enrollment begins Oct. 1, 2013. There will be clear information provided about how to complete the application, and how to access help applying and enrolling in coverage.

This consumer-focused approach will facilitate the enrollment of millions of Americans into affordable, high quality coverage while minimizing the administrative burden on states, individuals and health plans.

For more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit: www.HealthCare.gov .

Meanwhile, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s latest tracking poll on the law reveals the following:

The April poll finds much of the public remains confused about the status of the law. The April poll provides a rough baseline of public awareness of the Affordable Care Act before more intensive consumer information and consumer assistance efforts begin. Kaiser will track public awareness, including awareness among the uninsured, as implementation unfolds.

Among the key findings of the new poll:

Four in 10 Americans (42 percent) are unaware that the ACA is still the law of the land, including 12 percent who believe the law has been repealed by Congress, 7 percent who believe it has been overturned by the Supreme Court and 23 percent who say they don’t know enough to say what the status of the law is.

About half the public (49 percent) says they do not have enough information about the health reform law to understand how it will impact their own family.

The share of the public who says they lack enough information to understand how the ACA will affect their family is higher among two groups the law is likely to benefit most – the uninsured (58 percent of whom say they lack enough information) and low-income households (56 percent say so).

When it comes to where they are getting information about the law, Americans most commonly cite friends and family (named by 40 percent), “newspapers, radio news or other online news sources” (36 percent) and cable news (30 percent). About one in 10 report getting information from a health insurer, a doctor, an employer or a non-profit organization. Similar shares say they have gotten information from “federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services” (9 percent) or “state agencies such as your state Medicaid office or health department” (8 percent).

The April poll is the latest in a series designed and analyzed by the Foundation’s public opinion research team. For more information, go to www.kff.org .

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