A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Together We Can!: Feds Back Innovative State/HCFA/HLA Partnership

Together We Can!: Feds Back Innovative State/HCFA/HLA Partnership

October 20, 2010

Today federal HHS awarded the Commonwealth a $743,000 consumer assistance grant for implementation of national health reform (federal press release, fact sheet, and blog post).

Today Senator Kerry cheered the grant, saying “this investment will ensure that patients across Massachusetts get the health care information they need to protect themselves and their families.”

With the grant, HCFA and Health Law Advocates (HLA) will partner with the state in guiding consumers through the private market elements of integrating the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) into Massachusetts' landmark health reform. HCFA's Helpline will play a key role in helping consumers navigate health reform. ACA provides consumers with significant new private market protections and coverage expansions. The Commonwealth, HCFA and HLA will use the additional resources to expand our capacity to educate consumers about private market options and protections, assist with difficulties navigating the system, and when appropriate file appeals. The grants will also let us track consumer complaints to help identify problems and improve enforcement.

Community Catalyst places the grants in their national context: "Consumer assistance programs are critical to successful implementation of the new law, and help by providing one-on-one assistance to educate individuals about their health care options, to facilitate enrollment, to maintain coverage, and to troubleshoot problems that may arise. Through interactions with consumers, these programs also capture valuable, early information about implementation successes and problems that can be shared with policymakers and state agencies."

-Fawn Phelps