This report discusses the monthly meetings of the HIV Planning Council (HIVPC) and the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN). The HIVPC is the planning body for the Ryan White Care (RWC) Program of Broward County (Broward-RWC). SFAN is the advisory for the RWC program of the Florida Department of Health in Broward (FL-DOH RWC).
The HIVPC contracts with agencies to provide specific units of service. Over the course of a contact year, some programs provide more services than expected and other provide less. When that happens, the HIVPC moves funds from under-performing programs to over-performing programs. For example at the last HIVPC meeting, the increased demand for Food Program Services drove efforts to modify eligibility requirements to avoid running out of funds. On October 30, The HIVPC voted to move $139,005 into the Food Program to ensure its solvency.
SFAN met on Nov. 3. A large part of this meeting focused on clarifying ACA issues for RWC clients.
The ACA has played a critical role in this process. RWC has moved from paying for direct services to paying for insurance premiums. This cost transfer has resulted in savings for RWC and allowed it to provide more services to more people.
Several recent actions of the Trump Administration have increased confusion about the ACA. They have shortened the open enrollment for the ACA from twelve to six weeks, November 1 to Dec. 15. They cut the national budget for advertising by 90 percent. In Florida, they cut the counseling budget by 30 percent. They announced their intention to stop reimbursing insurance companies for Cost Sharing Reductions. This announcement occurred after the Insurance Companies had submitted their premium rates for their 2018 policies. Florida insurance companies had already raised premiums in anticipation of the end of CSR reimbursements.
According to Neil Walker, FL-DOH-RWC, about 1,300 Broward-RWC clients had enrolled in ACA programs in 2017, roughly 30 percent of RWC ADAP clients. An insurance company will automatically re-enroll a client in the same plan. Two factors can change that re-enrollment. The insurance company might not offer that plan. A customer could choose another plan.
Lisa Agate, of Broward Regional Health Planning Council, urged people to compare plans. Premiums, deductibles, and copays can change. Pharmaceuticals may no longer be covered or may be much more expensive. Doctors and hospitals can drop out of a plan’s network. Unless they compare plans, some customers could be blindsided.
Agate reminded people that navigators are available to help people compare plans. The Broward Epilepsy Foundation and the Broward Regional Health Planning Council are providing navigators for help with ACA plan comparison.
Next SFAN Meeting: Friday, December 1, 2017 at 9:30 a.m., at the Holy Cross Healthplex, 1000 NE 56th Street, Ft. Lauderdale. SFAN welcomes newcomers.
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