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What Providers Need to Know Now About ARPA COBRA Subsidies

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). Included in the many pages of relief for individuals who have been adversely affected by COVID 19, is an expansion and assistance of COBRA benefits not seen since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Under ARPA, an employee who has had their employment involuntarily terminated, or had their hours reduced, is eligible for 6 months of free COBRA coverage. This subsidy ends on September 30, 2021. It appears the time frame was designed to catch anyone who has involuntarily lost work, since the pandemic began in April 2020, as the eligibility window for COBRA is 18 months.

Importantly, the subsidy is now available to employees who never elected COBRA coverage, or elected coverage and let it lapse. These individuals must be allowed an additional 60-day window to re-enroll. Additionally, this special election period allows those employees to make prospective elections beginning April 1, 2021, meaning they can elect to begin the 6 months of coverage without requiring payment of back dated premiums.

What does this mean for providers? According to the Congressional Budget Office, this means at least 3 million more insured patients. The CBO estimated that 2.2 million people would enroll in subsidized COBRA, joining 800,000 who would remain enrolled. This estimate was done on the House version of the bill, which only included an 85% subsidy. The 100% subsidy is expected to drastically increase, perhaps double, those numbers. In 2009, when ARRA provided only a 65% subsidy, an evaluation for the US Department of Labor showed that the COBRA enrollment rate went from 8% to 34%.

As is frequently the case, providers may be left with explaining and assisting their patients in receiving access to this subsidy, and in doing so converting self-pay balances to insured accounts. Employers are awaiting final instruction and sample notices from the Government, which is due within 45 days of signing. Once received, all eligible individuals should receive notice from their employers. However, they will not be automatically enrolled.

Providers should focus on three main areas of screening patients for this eligibility 1) high balance self-pay accounts with dates of service from April 1, 2021- September 30, 2021 2) self-pay patients scheduled for services April 1, 2021- September 30, 2021 3) patients currently being seen in any reoccurring visit environment- physical therapy, infusion, etc. It is also recommended, that providers work with any large employers in their community to assist patients, and potential patients, with enrollment.

Altum Healthcare Solutions is working with many providers to develop and execute a plan around this subsidy roll out. For more information, please contact us at info@altumhs.com.

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Angela Goins, Public Relations Representative, Altum Healthcare Solutions
Angela GOINS

Public Relations Representative

Angela Goins is the Public Relations representative for Altum Healthcare Solutions and the owner of Angela Goins Communications, LLC, which specializes in the medical, legal, and public sectors.

With a passion for storytelling, Angela bridges the gap between organizations and their audiences, enabling them to forge authentic connections.

Angela holds an MA in Communications Studies from the University of Alabama and a BA in Speech Communication from the University of Georgia. After spending over a decade moving around the United States as an active-duty military spouse, Angela settled back in her home state of Georgia, residing in Canton with her husband and their four sons.

Matt Curry, Regional VP of Business Development, Altum Healthcare Solutions
Matt CURRY

Regional VP of Business Development

Matt Curry possesses 15 years of experience in healthcare revenue cycle solutions and currently serves as the Regional Vice President of Business Development for Altum Healthcare Solutions. 

Matt utilizes his extensive knowledge and expertise in healthcare revenue cycle and sales strategies to provide the best solution set for the company’s clients.

Outside of work, Matt enjoys playing golf and volunteering as a coach for multiple sports. He resides in Milton, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, with his wife and two children.

Kelsey Claster, VP Legal Affairs, Altum Healthcare Solutions
Kelsey CLASTER

Manager of Legal Services

Kelsey Claster is the Manager of Legal for Altum Healthcare Solutions. She is a Kennesaw State University graduate with a BBA in Entrepreneurship and a minor in Information Systems. Kelsey began her post-graduate career with Altum in late 2021 and has quickly advanced herself by creating and implementing new practices that streamline our legal services.

Taylor Weaver, Complex Claims Manager, Altum Healthcare Solutions
Taylor WEAVER

Complex Claims Manager

Taylor Weaver is the Complex Claims Manager for Altum Healthcare Solutions. With over seven years of experience in healthcare billing and reimbursement, she brings a wealth of expertise to her role, specializing in handling complex claims with ease.

Taylor’s commitment to excellence and client satisfaction is evident in her work ethic and positive attitude. 

Taylor resides in West Georgia with her significant other and their two furry companions.

Meaghan Gildea, VP Operations, Altum Healthcare Solutions
Meaghan GILDEA

Chief Operating Officer

Meaghan Gildea is the Chief Operating Officer for Altum Healthcare Solutions. She brings a decade of expertise in Operations, HR, and Healthcare Law. Meaghan’s experience includes stints with major Complex Claims companies and Law Firms that conducted work on the entire Eastern Seaboard. Her expansive knowledge and work ethic are unparalleled in the healthcare industry.

Meaghan is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and Kennesaw State.

Mary Enge, VP Insurance Billing, Altum Healthcare Solutions
Mary ENGE

VP of Insurance Billing

Mary Enge is the Vice President of Insurance Billing for Altum Healthcare Solutions. With over 25 years of Healthcare Industry experience, she possesses a strong background leading teams in quality assurance and claims analysis for follow-up and claims denials for Medicare, Veterans Administration, Workers Compensation, Managed Care, Medicaid CMOs, and Medicaid.

Mary has collaborated with multiple hospital departments to resolve complex denials regarding authorization, medical necessity, COB issues, and assisted with various cleanup projects. She has worked closely with hospitals nationwide to assist in reviewing, analyzing, and resolving a high volume of accounts while maintaining great partnerships with her clients to ensure we always meet their goals and expectations.

Matthew ALFORD

Chief Development Officer

Matthew Alford serves as the Chief Development Officer of Altum Healthcare Solutions. Drawing on 15 years of experience in finance and Healthcare, his role is critical to our clients’ engagement, development, and satisfaction. Matthew believes in the importance of building relationships and delivering on measurables to increase performance for all of his clients.

A native of Cordele, Georgia and educated at Georgia Southern University, he currently resides in Fayetteville, Georgia with his wife and two children. Matt is an avid golfer who also enjoys serving his community as a church deacon and high school golf coach.

Elizabeth Richards, CEO, Altum Healthcare Solutions
Elizabeth Richards

Chief Executive Officer

Elizabeth S. Richards serves as Chief Executive Officer of Altum Healthcare Solutions. With 15 years as a Healthcare attorney, her expertise includes third-party liability, workers compensation, insurance appeals, Medicaid/Medicare, and other complex reimbursement matters.

Mrs. Richards is an active member of the Georgia Bar, Georgia Academy of Healthcare Attorneys, and Georgia Chapter of HFMA. As a member of Georgia HFMA, she has been on the board of directors, a legal counsel to the chapter, and co-chair of the Region Five event. Additionally, she chaired and founded the Women in Healthcare initiative in the state. In 2014, she was selected and served on the National HFMA task force for Early Careerist. She also holds the HFMA Fellow designation and the Medal of Honor.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Juris Doctor, both from the University of Georgia. When not working, Mrs. Richards enjoys spending time with her two sons, Hudson and Grayson, and cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs!