That was smoothed over by a $1.5 million federal grant to the health centers to help enroll people in the program, and now Access Health and the centers are working together.
Centrists With a Cause
Counihan is quick to note that polls show Americans are woefully unaware of insurance access reform; and in fact, 12 percent in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey thought it has been repealed. All of that gives Access Health CT the chance to tell the story freshly, he said.
The heart of the on-the-ground outreach is a network of 300 assisters, mostly nonprofit groups that are applying for $6,000 grants and will seek out and enroll people. About 600 have applied, and the winning assisters will be named this month.
California's exchange is paying a $63-per-head bounty to assisters for every person enrolled. Some wanted Connecticut to go that route, but, Madrak said, "it wasn't really in the spirit of what we were trying to do here," working with local groups. "They believe in the cause, and they're eager to help."
To help guide the assisters and spread the word broadly, the exchange will give grants to between five and seven "navigator" groups, typically larger, nonprofit agencies.
It is, as Madrak suggested, not just the sale of a service to hundreds of thousands of people, but a cause that will save lives. Critics on the left, who say the exchange system may still be too expensive for many families, and on the right, who say it's socialized medicine that will collapse under its own weight, can now put the details of the debate aside long enough to help get the word out.
"We have the pieces in place to make sure anyone who may want to buy health insurance from the exchange is going to know exactly how and where to do so," said Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, co-chairwoman of the exchange board.
Wyman and other board members have delved into details such as making sure there were radio ads produced in Spanish.
"I believe this marketing effort is going to be another example of the great work that is being done to implement what is now the law of the land."
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