AAHP to address lack of health insurance

WASHINGTON: The American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) has kicked off a campaign in response to the problem of uninsured Americans.

WASHINGTON: The American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) has kicked off a campaign in response to the problem of uninsured Americans.

Overlapping with the "Cover the Uninsured Week" effort by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (see the prweek.

com archive for the March 10 story), Mohit Ghose, director of public affairs for the AAHP clarified, "We are a sponsoring organization for the RWJF effort, but what we're doing provides a solution to the issues that coalition raises."

The AAHP campaign is centered on a set of five principles, which are essentially a proposed response to rising healthcare costs - the biggest contributor to the uninsured problem, according to the nonprofit group.

The principles are being rolled out to the press, medical societies, and employer groups. Outreach to Congress and the Department of Health and Human Services is being done as well.

Additionally, "for the first time, we are actively getting our board members out there as spokespeople," reported Ghose.

The AAHP is also directing people to the "Focus on the Uninsured" section of its website. There, visitors can access the group's cost calculator (www.aahpcostcalculator.org). Users can enter an increase in healthcare costs, and the tool calculates the impact such a rise would have on lost jobs, the number of uninsured Americans, and lost wages.

"We designed the calculator as a method of humanizing the effects of rising healthcare costs," said Geoff Freeman, director of strategic planning.

Based on the research numbers used to develop the calculator, the AAHP determined that every two hours, 465 Americans lose their health insurance.

The organization developed a big-screen advertisement based on this figure that runs repeatedly before trailers in movie theatres.

The effort is national, but outreach is being heightened in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago, LA, and Houston. Freeman cited political clout and extent of reach as reasons for honing in on those cities.

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