Kiall Swift introduced Curtis Fackler. Curtis joined Better Health Together in July 2013. With a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Golden Gate University, he has over 25 years working with individuals and small business in the insurance and employee benefit arena. In 2007, he was named National Federation of Independent Business Washington State Small Business Champion for his work on health care issues for small business. He enjoys the great outdoors.
Curtis shared that his first career was as a B52 navigator. Now he helps Spokane-area residents navigate through insurance. Better Health Together helps train uninsured on how to get insurance.
Better Health Together has been quite successful at their mission of radically improving the health of our region through innovative and collaborative action. One of the reasons for this success is that they hire people who like people. The best hires are those who have had to work through their own medical impacts as they have had to work through the system.
One of their goals is to ensure 95% of the region has health insurance through a robust navigator/in person assister network. The navigator program works to help educate people about what type of health care they have, what types of insurance are available, and how to properly use their insurance once they have it. They work primarily with families in transition. Some examples are seniors who can receive Medicare and students.
Before the ACA community, there were about 17% uninsured (80,000). Most of the uninsured were receiving help from ER or free reduced clinics. If the person had insurance, then it was generally work related. Once the person left work, COBRA was an option, but it was really expensive. People were also subjected to medical underwriting.
After the ACA community, the uninsured rate dropped to 3% (14,000). Most people are still insured through work, but now if a person left work COBRA was no longer available. People were no longer medically underwritten.
Solutions to your insurance problem can be found at Healthplanfinder. Families are now eligible for expanded Medicaid. It is interesting that the eligibility is based on income and not assets. State of Florida looked into the asset requirement because the retirees who were moving to Florida to retire. The retirees could still get Medicaid regardless of wealth.
QHP tax credits can help individuals pay for their insurance. Curtis shared some examples based on a couple aged 60 and 59.
Income / Year
Tax Credit/ Month
$1,750 max
Curtis shared how costs have changed from 2013 to 2015. Patient days, ER visits, Medicaid, and total revenue have all increased. Whereas self-pay, charity, and bad debt have all decreased during that time frame.
Glenn talked about the impact of uninsured on Pullman budget.