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Coverage Expansion and the Criminal Justice-Involved Population: Implications For Plans and Service Connectivity

NCJ Number
Health Affairs Volume: 33 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 482-486
Amy E. Boutwell; Jonathan Freedman
Date Published
March 2014
5 pages
This article discusses the challenges faced by health care plans in meeting the needs of the criminal justice-involved population.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides for the expansion of health care to cover individuals involved with the criminal justice system. This population has high rates of undiagnosed chronic and infectious diseases, along with high rates of mental health and substance use disorders. Also, a large portion of this population tends to be young men who have been uninsured and have had little contact with the health care system. This article discusses the challenges faced by health plans in meeting the needs of this population. The policy objectives of the ACA call for providing cost-efficient and effective health care through improved and expanded access. Health plans will need to develop ways to reach out to the justice-involved population and create service models that will address their specific health care needs. The article provides the following recommendations for health plans and Medicaid payers to work with criminal-justice involved persons: examine core competencies and evolve as needed; develop competency in comorbid behavioral health care; consider patient-level factors; develop novel partnerships in enrollment and retention; consider new approaches for care management; participate in health information exchanges; and address eligibility termination and membership 'churn'. 24 notes