Nonprofit payers urge federal health equity policy

The Association for Community Affiliated Plans, a trade group of 74 nonprofit health plans representing over 20 million members, is urging federal lawmakers to increase support for addressing social determinants of health through proposed health equity policies.

The strategy is a part of the group's new policy guide, "Pathway to Improve Health Equity," aimed at improving care outcomes for members who have low incomes, are disproportionately from communities of color and who may live with disabilities, according to a June 21 news release.

The guide includes a three-part approach:

  1. Consideration of equity is built into all future projects
  2. Focused actions should be identified to achieve impact in the short term
  3. Collaboration with other healthcare stakeholders

ACAP says robust data collection to support improvement on equity measures, support of public policies that improve equity, and understanding other plans' experiences is key for the strategy's success.

Specifically, the policy guide requests that lawmakers fund more benefits aimed at addressing social determinants of health, including food, transportation and housing programs. It also advocates for establishing continuous eligibility for people covered by Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, along with extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months.

ACAP has also launched a new two-year program in partnership with the Center for Health Care Strategies that will help safety-net health plans advance health equity efforts through the development and vetting of a strategic plan.

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