On October 1, 2013 many low-income and uninsured individuals will be able to apply and enroll in quality, affordable health coverage. With this date quickly approaching, it is essential that we all work to make sure the individuals and families we serve are aware of their new options for coverage under the Health Care Law, and that they understand how to take advantage of these options. More specifically, Individuals with mental and substance use disorders will benefit from the requirements that provides for behavioral health treatment services with coverage that is comparable to that for other medical conditions.
NASW is committed to facilitate the efforts to let our clients know that they may be eligible for the new Health Care Law, and how they can take advantage of the new mental health or substance abuse coverage, and receive more affordable health coverage. For that reason, NASW partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other national organizations like ours to develop a 30-minute narrated training toolkit called Getting Ready for the Health Insurance Marketplace. NASW is a member of the Criminal Justice Enrollment Coalition and the Mental Health/Substance Abuse Coalition. The two toolkits (Criminal Justice and Mental Health/Substance Abuse) are available online for you to access at your convenience by clicking on the SAMHSA widget on the left.
Before reviewing the tool kits, please be aware that the first part is essentially a tutorial to help you become familiar with the design and contents in the toolkits. Once you go through the tutorial slides, the remaining content is an interactive discussion provides you with an understanding of the Health Care Law and how individuals with behavioral health conditions will benefit from it. It also informs you about how the Health Insurance Marketplace works to make it easier to obtain the health coverage that best meets an individual’s needs. The toolkit contains numerous outreach materials for you to use in your communication efforts to inform uninsured individuals about their new coverage options under the Health Care Law and motivate them to enroll in coverage. Resources containing additional information and the communication materials can be downloaded directly from the toolkit.
The outreach materials include articles, brochures, fact sheets, presentations, videos, posters, cards, outreach messages, flyers, widgets, and social media resources. Many of the materials are available in multiple languages and customized for specific population segments, like different ethnic/racial groups. The toolkit offers suggestions about how to use particular materials.
NASW encourages you to view the toolkit. You will find that it will help you to provide important information to your clients. The toolkits are not designed to make you an expert on the Affordable Care Act. However, it is designed give you sufficient knowledge about the benefits of ACA to help your uninsured clients receive the care they need. Also, please feel free to further disseminate the toolkit link to other social workers and colleagues.
Mel Wilson, LCSW
Manager- Department of Social Justice and Human Rights
Original article can be found at: http://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/2013/healthexchanges.asp