On October 13, 2016, the Texas Health Institute, in partnership with the California Pan Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) and Health Access, presented preliminary findings on the California Marketplace Health Equity Assessment Tool (M-HEAT) Initiative.
The M-HEAT Initiative was designed to
- evaluate marketplace health equity programs and initiatives
- understand marketplace progress and performance
- provide external, community-based validation of marketplace programs, progress, and performance toward health equity
M-HEAT was created with the understanding that diverse populations comprise a large proportion, if not majority, of marketplace eligible individuals in California. While some states have led efforts to conduct outreach and enroll diverse communities, others have experienced challenges in doing so. The mission of Covered California is to increase the number of insured Californians by improving health care quality, lowering costs and reducing health disparities. Covered CA has a strong commitment to health equity, as evidenced by its recognition of the diverse cultural, linguistic, economic, educational and health status needs of its residents.
The initial findings of the M-HEAT Initiative indicated the need for
- greater stakeholder communication to ensure knowledge of health equity programs, activities and responses is disseminated
- informed marketing and outreach initiatives to target and engage hard-to-reach communities
- expanded language services to meet the diverse needs of foreign-born residents
- enhanced data collection standards, which account for diverse populations
- increased capacity for communities to evaluate progress towards health equity
- improved access to care, specifically initiatives that address low health insurance literacy and network adequacy