In a welcome video aired Monday at the 2015 NCPA Annual Convention and Trade Exposition, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell unveiled a partnership with NCPA in which community pharmacists will lend their expertise and assistance as open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace (HealthCare.gov) begins on Nov. 1.
“Today, I’m pleased to announce a collaboration with the National Community Pharmacists Association. This partnership will help connect you all with the resources you need for open enrollment,” Burwell said in the video.
The collaboration will include educational events and webinars for the pharmacy community, a resource guide that NCPA can distribute to member stores, and connecting pharmacies with navigators and assistors who can help patients get signed up. Burwell noted that NCPA also has offered HHS space on the convention show floor to help get the initiative under way.
“Each of you is on the frontline of care delivery, and that’s why our partnership is so crucial,” she said. “Together, we can help more Americans access affordable, quality health care. Together, we can empower families, promote wellness and deliver impact for the people we serve.”
Earlier in the video, Burwell spoke about her experience with community pharmacy growing up in Hinton, W.Va., explaining that the local community pharmacist is often the health care professional that people see the most.
“I knew the pharmacists in my town well and depended on their advice and insight, and I’ve seen how pharmacists play a vital in other communities as well,” she said, adding that three of her relatives are practicing or retired community pharmacists. “The 23,000 independent pharmacies that this organization represents play that same important role in your own communities.”
Burwell told attendees that “we need your voices” as HHS gears up for the next open enrollment, since many people will be signing up for health coverage for the first time and others will be shopping around for a plan that better fits their lifestyle.
“The Marketplace has help millions of Americans find coverage. But there are still about 10.5 million uninsured who are eligible for coverage,” she said. “Many of those don’t know about the Marketplace, don’t know that financial assistance is available or don’t understand how it works. That’s why we’re asking all of you to help us spread the word.”