Central Health has stepped up efforts to educate Travis County residents about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Board of Managers allocated $350,000 on Wednesday, Oct. 16, to launch a new multifaceted public information awareness campaign in order to help the community better understand and take advantage of the new law. Including the funds approved last month for education and outreach through the United Way for Greater Austin, Central Health has committed to date a total of $650,000 to ensure Travis County residents understand the ACA and are able to make the most of its provisions.
“Our goal is to raise awareness and spur low-income Travis County residents to enroll in the marketplace in order to better ensure access to health care and wellness services. For each individual we are now serving with local tax dollars, enrollment into a plan through the marketplace lessens the local burden and provides a full range of covered services. Many of these individuals currently pay for episodic care out of pocket and these new plans offer peace of mind around the fear of overwhelming medical bills should they have more serious health conditions or accidents,” Vice-President of Planning and Communications Christie Garbe said.
The new campaign will incorporate a comprehensive and wide-ranging set of initiatives and products. It will include: traditional public service announcements broadcast on local television and radio, printed notices in local print media including non-English publications, mobile apps, social media and other online outlets, printed reference materials such as brochures and booklets, participation in local community events, and support services for other local community organizations such as schools, clinics, and community centers.
Last month, the Board of Managers approved $300,000 to United Way for Greater Austin, which in turn granted those funds to three local community-based organizations – Austin Interfaith, Foundation Communities, and Latino Healthcare Forum – to conduct outreach and education in the community. The campaign launched Wednesday night will supplement those efforts with additional resources, and also help centralize and bring a greater sense of cohesion and continuity to the work being conducted by community partners.
Funds are to be derived from the expansion fund line item in Central Health’s fiscal year 2014 budget. Work to develop the formal elements of the campaign has already begun, with the actual campaign to launch in November and continue through next March. Regular progress updates will be presented to the Board of Managers during the course of monthly open meetings.
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace, visit https://www.centralhealth.net/marketplace_resources.html.