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PHR Article of the Week: Law and the Public’s Health: How the Affordable Care Act Affects Inmates

In the latest issue of Public Health Reports, July/August, George Washington University faculty members Ms. Juliette Espinosa and Dr. Marsha Regenstein report on how the Affordable Care Act affects inmates.

The report examined the interaction between the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the justice system, reviewing the potential effects of both the Medicaid expansion and the availability of subsidized health insurance plans through the Exchange. The Act’s key insurance elements are described, along with their implications for people at risk of incarceration, including the challenge of coordinating coverage reforms with health care during periods of incarceration.

The ACA requires coordination between Medicaid and the Marketplace in the area of outreach and enrollment assistance to underserved populations. This coordination responsibility offers an important opportunity for two premium affordability programs to develop coordination strategies that include jail and prison authorities and that reconnect former inmates to insurance coverage when they are not in custody. To accomplish this, Medicaid expansion in all states is the critical first step, but crucial actions also include health plan standards that ensure that coverage is not prematurely terminated, as well as standards that ensure that health plans coordinate their coverage and treatment with health care received during incarceration.

This week’s PHR feature article, How the Affordable Care Act Affects Inmates, will be open access through July 17. For full access to current content, visit the Public Health Reports website to subscribe.