Affordable Care Act faces expansion challenges

Increased coverage means more Americans have access to preventative care, which could decrease health care costs.

In the first wave of enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies, states and the Obama administration face challenges of a bug-ridden registration website and lack of knowledge about the available plans. Now, as the second enrollment period looms, a myriad of challenges are present, some new and some familiar. 

Now, not only do ACA officials have to find ways to attract the millions of Americans that passed on coverage during the original enrollment period, they will also have to ensure that their legacy subscribers retain their health plans. 

"This year, we have to walk and chew gum at the same time," Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, a nonprofit that focuses on health-coverage expansion, told the Wall Street Journal. "There are millions who did not enroll [whom] we need to reach and get in the door, and millions who got coverage and aren't sure what to expect."

According to the source, one of the major challenges involved in helping current subscribers continue their enrollment is that different states have different registration requirements. Most of the 30 states HealthCare.gov serves allow for automatic renewals, though some, including Nevada, California and Massachusetts will require subscribers to re-enroll.

Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office project that 13 million people will use the exchanges during the upcoming enrollment period. This is almost double the 7.3 million Americans that enrolled during the original period.

This could be good news for healthcare revenue cycle management professionals. Although the cost of care remains high, the more Americans that enroll in coverage reduces the likelihood of facilities shouldering debt as a result of uncompensated care. If this has already become a problem for your organization, accounts receivable outsourcing can help to reduce the number of dollars written off to bad debt.