White House ‘Healthy Communities Challenge’ comes to Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — According to the White House,17.6 million Americans have gained coverage since the Affordable Care Act has taken effect. Since 2010, the uninsured rate in the U.S. has been reduced by 45 percent.

“The nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever,” the White House said in a press release. “But still, in communities across the country, 10.5 million people eligible for Marketplace coverage remain uninsured.”

Today, the White House “Health Communities Challenge” was launched in an effort to engage key communities with large numbers or high percentages of uninsured in states across the country “where strong federal, state and community collaboration can have a meaningful impact on reaching the uninsured.”

“Through this challenge, we are calling on community leadership to build outreach efforts to reach these remaining uninsured and help them gain coverage,” the White House said.

At the end of this year’s enrollment period, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with State-based Marketplaces, will publish tallies of new Marketplace signups in participating communities. The tallies will be compared to HHS estimates of the number of eligible uninsured people at the start of open enrollment to see which communities made the most progress during the challenge.

“The victorious community gets bragging rights, a healthier community and a visit from President Obama to celebrate their success in helping ensure every American has health coverage.”

Based on particularly high opportunity for impact, the White House reached out to local officials in each of these 20 communities, including Mayor Dwight Jones, who embraced the “Healthy Communities Challenge” to get their uninsured constituents covered.

Here are some facts from the White House:

  • On June 30, 2015, 327,026 people in Virginia were covered through its Health Insurance Exchange, or Marketplace. In the Commonwealth, 76 percent of people can find a plan for $100 or less, 70 percent for $75 or less, and 63 percent for $50 or less for 2016.
  • The average monthly premium in Virginia for the second-lowest cost silver plans will increase by 4 percent from 2015 to 2016 before tax credits.
  • In 2015, 84 percent of Marketplace enrollees — 274,044 people — in Virginia received a tax credit, and consumers saved an average of $257 per month.
  • 11 issuers in the state are offering individual health plans in the Marketplace in 2016. Issuers are offering an average of 35 plans per county in 2016. In Richmond, 4 issuers are offering individual health plans in the Marketplace in 2016.
  • 72 percent of Marketplace consumers in Virginia who switch to the lowest-cost plan within a coverage level could save on average $27 per month, or $326 per year, on their premium costs in 2016.
  • About 28 percent of 2014 enrollees in Virginia switched to a new plan in 2015, saving $141 per year — and $3,872,282 in total statewide — on premium costs.
  • While progress has been made, more work is needed to cover the uninsured.
  • In Virginia, the adult uninsured rate dropped from 13.3 percent in 2013 to 12.5 percent in the first half of 2015. In Richmond and the surrounding region, there are 59,000 uninsured who are eligible for the Marketplace.

Here’s a look at the communities participating in the “Healthy Communities Challenge”:

  • Dallas, TX
  • Tampa, FL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Great Falls, MT
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Chicago, IL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Detroit, MI
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Denver, CO
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Oakland, CA
  • Richmond, VA
  • Long Beach, CA

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