Ogilvy guides coalition work on Affordable Care Act

WASHINGTON: Ogilvy PR Worldwide is working with the Essential Health Benefits Coalition to promote its recommendations for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

WASHINGTON: Ogilvy PR Worldwide is working with the Essential Health Benefits Coalition to promote its recommendations for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The alliance includes the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, and various healthcare industry groups.

The Affordable Care Act directs the Department of Health and Human Services to define a package of essential benefits that all insurance plans must cover beginning in 2014. It requires affected plans to provide a minimum package of benefits in 10 coverage areas, including maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health care, rehabilitative and habilitative services, and pediatric services with oral and vision care.

The Obama administration has indicated it will pass some decisions on to the states, with each one selecting an existing health plan to use as a benchmark for the requirements that all packages must cover.

The EHBC said it is pleased HHS is giving states flexibility to use private coverage options as benchmarks. However, it is concerned those options are subject to mandates that would keep coverage out of reach for small employers and individuals.

To address this issue, the group believes HHS should evaluate benefits, including state benefit mandates, from both a cost and medical effectiveness perspective. It also wants the process for updating the law to be viewed through those parameters, said Brendan Daly, EVP and national director of public affairs at Ogilvy Washington..

Ogilvy has helped the group formally submit comments to a government docket that closed January 31. It has also set up meetings with healthcare journalists in recent months, as well as members of the Obama administration and Congress.

The agency also worked to place op-eds in The San Francisco Chronicle and Politico, said Daly, who added that administration officials have received the agency's point of view well.

“We didn't just come out and attack what the administration was doing,” he said. “We instead said what we liked and what we felt could be improved.”

EHBC has been pleased with the work done by Ogilvy, said organization chairman Neil Trautwein. He declined to discuss the budget for PR firm's work.

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