Today, a broad coalition of states, consumer and patient groups, and health care providers from across the country launched Get Covered 2021, a new national initiative designed to help uninsured Americans enroll into health insurance and promote COVID-19 safe practices.
As part of today’s launch, Get Covered 2021 announced tools and information available through a new website www.GetCovered2021.org, where Americans will be connected to their state or federal marketplace to enroll immediately in coverage provided through the Affordable Care Act.
Get Covered 2021 is co-chaired by Get America Covered Co-Founder Joshua Peck, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Deputy Secretary Carrie Banahan, and Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee.
“COVID focused everyone’s attention on the need for access to health care. Without comprehensive, high-quality, and affordable coverage, care for COVID or anything else can be out of reach for millions of people in this country,” Peck said. “COVID underscores why getting covered matters but not just because of the pandemic. Coverage is much more affordable than people think, with millions of consumers qualifying for plans that cost them zero dollars per month. Anyone who wants insurance should visit GetCovered2021.org, shop around, and find the option that is right for them. Together, let’s mask up, get covered, and ensure Americans have the health care they need when they need it the most.”
Current data shows that of the 28 million Americans currently uninsured, more than half of them — over 16 million — are eligible for financial help to pay for their health insurance costs or for free coverage through Medicaid (see Attachment 2. Uninsured, Yet Still Eligible for Help – State-by-State Detail on the Opportunity to Cover Millions for 2021 and Attachment 3. 16 Million Uninsured Americans Eligible Now). With the President-elect committing to build on the progress made under the Affordable Care Act,Get Covered 2021 is focused on the 16 million who are eligible right now financial help to lower their health insurance costs.
Of those eligible for financial help, 6.7 million are eligible for free or very low-cost coverage through their state’s Medicaid program and 9.2 million are eligible for financial assistance through their state or the federal insurance marketplace. Currently among those enrolled with coverage through marketplaces, 86 percent receive financial assistance and the average monthly help per household is $742 – covering 85 percent of the total premium — leaving the average household responsible for less than $130 per month in premium costs (see Attachment 4. Financial Help for Those in Marketplaces Lowers Consumer Costs Dramatically).
The Get Covered 2021 initiative is supported by elected officials, national health leaders, health care providers, and celebrities committed to raising awareness of the inextricable link between health and coverage, and that financial help is available for millions of Americans who might not know it.
“The Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of uninsured from 45 to 28 million by providing financial help and a wide variety of coverage options, but even so, we must do more to increase awareness of these options, especially in diverse communities,” Lee said. “The COVID pandemic has put a new spotlight on a long-standing problem – the fact that too many Latinos and African-Americans face worse health outcomes. Getting health coverage to all Americans is essential to our efforts to address health disparities. We’re asking America’s governors and mayors, celebrities to join with millions of Americans to help spread the word and get people enrolled.”
From today’s launch, Get Covered 2021 is driving toward a national “Get Covered America Day” on December 10th, and will continue through the open enrollment period and into the new year. The goal on December 10th is to drive enrollment across the nation, through united voices in the press and on social media.
“December 10 is Get Covered America Day, and on that day, we’re urging everyone to wear a mask and post a picture of themselves on social media, including a personal message about why having insurance matters, sharing our website GetCovered2021.org and using the hashtag #GetCovered2021,” Banahan said. “We all know someone whose life has been changed because of the lifesaving care they received. It could be your mother, grandfather, daughter, or best friend. So, right now, as we face the challenges of COVID, let us also work to make sure everyone has the same access to care that is provided by having insurance coverage.”
The organizations and individuals that endorse Get Covered 2021 are unified in their commitment to ensuring Americans have coverage that keeps them safe, healthy, and strong. This commitment is based on the recognition that both responding effectively to COVID and getting everyone possible insurance coverage is about health equity and addressing the disparities in health status and care delivery. Health equity begins with access to care, and access to care comes with having health insurance. Get Covered 2021 is committed to getting all Americans, who are eligible for coverage today, covered.
These groups come together in their agreement on the need to address the COVID pandemic and in the need to provide coverage to Americans to prevent and address other health conditions – including many that have higher impacts on communities of color. If the 16 million uninsured Americans eligible for financial help have the same health profile as Americans generally, not only would about 525,000 of them have been infected by COVID – with many being admitted to the hospital, but 1.8 million would be living with diabetes and over 85,000 would be living with and needing care and treatment for some form of cancer (see Attachment 5. Estimated Uninsured by Condition).
“America today understands that achieving health equity means ensuring that all people have the same access to insurance coverage and clinical care,” American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD said. “COVID exposed for all to see the significant health disparities facing communities of color. Get Covered 2021’s focus on helping people get quality, affordable health insurance coverage is essential to helping all people stay healthy during this terrible pandemic. Coverage for all is also a critical step towards ensuring a more equitable society.”