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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 1. Are you ready?

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Open enrollment in health insurance exchanges and the Medicaid expansion start on October 1, 2013. It’s also when many of the people your organization serves will become eligible for one of these new coverage options.

Are you ready? Are they ready?

The Obama Administration has launched a drive to help organizations like yours become Certified Application Counselors – essentially, to train your staff to help people understand, apply, and enroll for health coverage through the new exchanges. Certified Application Counselors (CACs) will educate consumers and provide assistance in completing applications for healthcare coverage.

This opportunity is important to behavioral health provider organizations because it gives you a way to help your uninsured clients finally get covered. It’s also a way for you to engage with potential new consumers and ensure that you are well positioned for changes in your payer mix associated with the coverage expansions.

CMS is hosting a series of webinars on how to apply to become a CAC organization, including an overview of the training requirements and other Marketplace-related background information. The sessions will be held at the following dates/times:

Need more information? Check out CMS’ background information document. If your organization is located in 1 of the 34 states that will run a Federally-facilitated Marketplace or a State Partnership Marketplace, you will apply using the Federal CAC application released by CMS. States that run a State-based Marketplace have the option to create their own CAC training or use the Federal CAC training. Click here to see which type of Marketplace your state will operate and to stay up to date with your states progress in developing their Marketplace.

The National Council encourages our member organizations to become Certified Application Counselors so you can help your clients make the most of the new opportunities available under health reform.