Since 2002, Vitalyst Health Foundation has advocated for – and provided funding and assistance to support – increases in health insurance coverage and access to care. By the numbers, no effort has been more far-reaching and impactful as the convening and co-leadership of the 1,000-member Cover Arizona Coalition whose aim is to help more Arizonans become insured.
The coalition was created in response to the Affordable Care Act (and its creation of the federal health insurance Marketplace) and the restoration and expansion of eligibility for AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid program). Prior to the Cover Arizona coalition, Vitalyst Health Foundation had a long history of engagement in health coverage issues. In 1998, we played a pivotal role in outreach when Arizona began its KidsCare health insurance program (Arizona’s version of the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program).
The Cover Arizona Coalition is comprised of the state’s two federally-funded navigator organizations, and a wide array of community-based organizations, health providers, tribal representatives, advocates, and members of the faith community. Collectively, the group is engaged in the following activities:
- Enrollment Assistance and Training: The coalition helps train and support hundreds of navigators, certified application counselors and brokers who are helping Arizonans enroll in health coverage. The coalition’s website provides information on enrollment events occurring throughout the state. It also serves to connect people to appointments for enrollment assistance occurring in local communities through Enroll America’s Get Covered Connector. Last year, there were over 80,000 visits to coveraz.org. Vitalyst Health Foundation helps augment enrollment assistance by providing financial support to two Arizona organizations, Keogh Health Connection and Pima Community Access Program.
- Public Awareness and Outreach: Cover Arizona partners are involved in a wide array of outreach activities to heighten awareness of the availability of Marketplace and Medicaid coverage. For example, Coalition members such as Arizona PIRG are working on community college campuses to encourage young people to get covered. Southern Arizona coalition members have created commercials, while still other members have been engaging Latinos, rural communities, or other populations that have been historically more challenging to get insured.
- Consumer Information: A priority for Cover Arizona is to help consumers understand not only how to sign up for health coverage, but also how to select a health plan that meets their needs. Cover Arizona members have developed health literacy materials for consumers. The coalition has also held trainings for community-based organizations interested in helping consumers understand insurance and how to connect to enrollment assistance.
- Public Policy: Coalition members also share information on important and emerging public policy issues that are relevant to coalition members, ranging from Medicaid expansion and the renewal of Arizona’s Medicaid waiver to selection of essential health benefit benchmark plans and oversight of health plan networks. Much of this information is shared through bi-weekly newsletters called Covered Clips.