It is almost a certainty that patient care volumes will increase after the complete rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Already, health systems are seeing a new level of demand that is burdening systems because of increased volumes. The patients you are currently treating that don’t have health insurance are mandated to enroll in a health insurance product offered either through a Federal or State exchange program.
The most recent figures from the Department of Health show that 7.1 million people are now enrolled in ObamaCare. Of those, more than 26% or 1.8 million people are between the ages of 26 and 34. The thought behind Affordable Care was that more young people would enroll and force the premium cost down through risk sharing. Although the number of young people enrolling has not achieved the levels anticipated it is a very good start and creates an opportunity for health systems and providers.
The Affordable Care Act ensures that health plans in the individual and small group markets offer a comprehensive package of services, known as essential health benefits. Essential health benefits must include services such as: hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; substance abuse disorder treatment; wellness services, emergency care, along with pediatric services that includes oral and vision care.
Unlike in years past, it is no longer the case that these young people will choose a facility because they were born there. Trends are showing that Gen X and Millennial groups are more transient and moving away from home for socio and economic reasons. These are people starting families and will be in need of maternity and newborn care, emergency services and will be very interested in wellness classes and activities. These are also potential patients who are using the Web to research health systems to make their decisions.
As marketing strategies change and the uncertainties of Affordable Care make your efforts more difficult, the one thing that doesn’t change is the need to attract and keep patients in your health system. Having a website that is well planned, informative and easily directs your patients to access those 10 essential health benefits covered by the Affordable Care Act will help improve a bottom line that in the past saw slim margins.
The best approach is to market directly to your patients by becoming more personal through the delivery of quality care along with utilizing online tools — your website, social media, etc. — to connect with those patients. Don’t miss an opportunity to help educate these young consumers about why your facility is the right one to choose for their care.