Local health-insurance marketplaces struggle to get people enrolled

Local health-insurance marketplaces struggle to get people enrolled

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With almost one in five residents in Palm Beach County lacking health insurance, officials here thought they had hit on a smart solution.

The county launched a program that offered subsidized coverage to residents who could not afford private insurance but who made too much to qualify for Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor. Enrollees would be able to buy policies for about $52 a month — far cheaper than what private insurers were offering. The agency will lift a requirement that the products carry a strict limit on how long they can be used.

 But a year after the program began, fewer than 500 people had signed up — less than a third of the number expected.
“The ‘if you build it, they will come’ philosophy doesn’t work in health care,” said Linda Quick, president of the South Florida Hospital and Health Care Association.

Quick and others worry that similar problems could bedevil the new online health insurance marketplaces that open for enrollment Oct. 1 under the Affordable Care Act. The marketplaces are the main way the federal health law will expand coverage to as many as 27 million people starting next year, according to government estimates.

Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/local-health-insurance-marketplaces-struggle-to-get-people-enrolled/2013/03/30/f5a85d26-97f3-11e2-814b-063623d80a60_story.html