Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Enroll Chicago! today, a citywide initiative that will roll out over the coming weeks providing uninsured Chicago residents with information and resources that will enable them to take full advantage of new options available to them under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This campaign will bring together multiple city agencies and close to 40 community partners to encourage enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Exchange (exchange), opening October 1, and Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), opening November 1. Chicago residents can visit the State of Illinois’ website, www.getcoveredillinois.gov, beginning on October 1 for more information on opportunities under the ACA.
“It is unacceptable that nearly one in five Chicagoans lack health insurance, jeopardizing the health of families across the City and imposing higher medical costs across the board when these families have no access to preventative care and go to the emergency room for basic care” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am committed to ensuring that as many Chicago residents as possible access the new benefits made available by the Affordable Care Act, which is why my administration is working with stakeholders to launch the Enroll Chicago! campaign.”
A recent Commonwealth Fund study found only 4 in 10 adults said they were familiar with the online marketplace or subsidies. Through Enroll Chicago!, the City and its partners will work to provide education and enrollment information directly to uninsured residents where they work, live and play. From library branches and public schools to Chicago Housing Authority properties to Chicago Police Department community meetings – the City and its partners will make resources and technical assistance available to the uninsured. City agencies are working to assist partners providing enrollment services directly to residents.
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law, expanding access to affordable health care to millions of Americans, reducing long-term costs of health care and providing critical protections for patients. As White House Chief of Staff at the time, Mayor Emanuel played an integral role in supporting the passage of the landmark bill. Under the law, the State government has expanded Medicaid and created the Illinois Health Benefits Marketplace, which will provide new insurance options for state residents, many for the first time.
The following City departments and sister agencies will contribute to the campaign:
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has provided a series of resources for community organizations and partners, including their Enroll Chicago! report, detailing who Chicago’s uninsured residents are and where they live. CDPH will publish a second report in late October highlighting new opportunities for prevention efforts under the ACA. Additionally, CDPH is identifying community partners to provide enrollment information at upcoming flu clinics and AIDS Foundation of Chicago will provide an enrollment specialist at CDPH’s STI clinics, allowing residents to enroll onsite. CDPH and Health & Disability Advocates are offering education training to city agencies throughout the enrollment period.
Family and Support Services will provide education and enrollment services at their Senior and Community Service Centers, through partnerships with various community organizations funded by State enrollment grants.
Chicago Police Department will share information with uninsured residents through their CAPS unit.
Chicago Public Schools is partnering with CDPH to facilitate enrollment of uninsured students through the All Kids program, linking parents who may also benefit from opportunities through the ACA.
Chicago City Colleges has committed to provide enrollment information to faculty, staff and students.
The Chicago Public Library will have staff at all libraries trained on ACA options and resources and will make enrollment information available at all branches. In addition, they are working with partners to arrange on-site education and enrollment opportunities throughout the open enrollment period.
The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will work with partner groups to provide education to neighborhood chambers of commerce and other members of the Chicago small businesses community, to inform them of opportunities and implications of the new law.
Chicago Housing Authority is partnering with State-funded agencies to provide outreach and enrollment efforts directly to their residents.
Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has applied for their staff to become Certified Application Counselors, allowing them opportunities to enroll residents for health coverage through the Marketplace.
Department of Aviation has committed to providing employees of concessionaires and other contractors with education and information.