Community health centers provide comprehensive primary care services in some of the most underserved communities in the nation. A new issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation summarizes findings from the 2018 survey of community health centers to provide a snapshot of health centers’ outreach and enrollment activities, as well as changes in service capacity and overall financial condition since implementation of the ACA. Four years following implementation of the ACA’s coverage expansions, health centers continue to play a central role in connecting consumers to expanded Medicaid and marketplace coverage even as they faced challenges during the 2018 Marketplace open enrollment period because of the administration’s decision to shorten the enrollment period to six weeks, reduce advertising funding, and reduce federal Navigator funding. In addition, in response to improved financing from having more insured patients as well enhanced federal grant support under the ACA, health centers have experienced significant growth in their service capacity.
The report was authored by researchers at Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University (GW) and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Additional funding support was provided by the RCHN Community Health Foundation.