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"We are estimating we will need two hours per encounter to educate patients on their options," Campbell says. "We really have to think about how to do this in the most cost-effective way.…The goal is to redeploy and retrain staff and not to add staff, but from a financial standpoint, we will still be investing those resources."
McGuire says St. John Providence is using certified application counselors to provide badly needed education to patients.
"They are helping people understand the options. The general population is starting at a low level of understanding of what is in these policies and what the Affordable Care Act is," he says. "We have had a number of people who believe this is a government program that is going to give them free insurance.…I think we needed to add more resources because the education effort is going to be more significant than we had anticipated. At least during the enrollment period, it is going to be very resource-intensive."
Likewise, Dinger says MissionPoint has certified application counselors working to assist patients.
"We are spending a good bit of time helping folks understand how the program works, when the coverage starts, when they have to make their payments. So we are answering a lot of questions around the program itself, let alone what plan to select," he says.
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