Board of Health Issues Report on the Impact of the Affordable Care Act in Louisville

February 20, 2015

The Louisville Metro Board of Health today issued a report on the impact of the first year of implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Louisville.  The report details enrollment figures, makes recommendations on improvements to the enrollment process and cites a need for more data to identify gaps in the Louisville healthcare workforce to meet the needs of the newly insured. 

The report was co-authored by Craig H. Blakely, PhD, MPH, Board of Health member and Professor and Dean of the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences and by Susan Buchino, PhD(c), MS, OTR/L of the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. 

The full report can be read at http://louisvilleky.gov/government/health-wellness

In August 2013, two months prior to the first open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, the Louisville Metro Board of Health convened a wide-ranging group of community stakeholders to evaluate the opportunities to expand access to healthcare under the ACA in Louisville and improve the health of the community.  The group included hospital healthcare systems and providers, state and local government agencies, local nonprofit organizations as well as insurance providers and insurance agents.   The Board of Health divided its work into four committees – Enrollment, Health Literacy & Education, Workforce Capacity and Outcomes & Evaluation. 

“We believe that this effort is unprecedented,” said Board of Health ACA Steering Committee Chair William Altman.  “We haven’t heard of a single other city in the country that brought all the stakeholder partners together to coordinate the local implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” 

Board of Health Chair Sherry Babbage, DMD, said, “The report represents the Board’s commitment to improve the health of Louisville residents.  The Board will continue to bring community leaders together to ensure not only that people have health insurance but also have access to quality care.” 

            Findings and recommendations of the Board of Health report include:

  • The first year of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Louisville was viewed as a success by all stakeholder groups.  Actions of the Board of Health committees were viewed as a critical component of successful ACA implementation in Louisville and a model for future collaboration on public health issues
  • Before the Affordable Care Act there were an estimated, 101,000 uninsured Louisville residents.  As a result of local efforts, more than 82,000 - 81% of those formerly uninsured – had gained health coverage
  • More than 70,000 of those formerly uninsured were enrolled under Medicaid.  Enrollment numbers under private Qualified Health Plans were lower.  The report recommends that the Commonwealth Institute analyze the reasons for consumers’ hesitancies to enroll in Qualified Health Plans and implement strategies to improve enrollment.
  • The report recommends that the Kentucky Office of Health Policy conduct an analysis of the capacity of Louisville’s healthcare workforce to accommodate newly insured consumers.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said, “I commend the Board of Health for their fine work.  Improving the health of Louisville residents is one of the top priorities of my administration, and thanks to the efforts of the Board of Health and other community partners, many more residents now have access to healthcare – which is one of the key goals of Healthy Louisville 2020, our plan to improve our city’s health.  My administration has also adopted a “health in all policies approach” that considers the health impact of all local government policy decisions.  This coupled with a significantly increased access to healthcare will assist in our goal of making Louisville one of the healthiest places in America.”