Maximizing Coverage through Outreach: Second Year Experiences of Enroll America in North Carolina and Ohio
- Enroll America staff in both states successfully built a broader network of partners during the second open enrollment, continuing to organize the work of many disparate groups around a common goal, and began working with partners to institutionalize some of Enroll America’s outreach and messaging strategies. Coalitions continued to play an important role in helping Enroll America build effective working partnerships with a wide variety of stakeholders.
- Enroll America overcame many contextual challenges during the second open enrollment period. For example, renewals were an uncharted territory, media and volunteer interest declined, and neither state directly invested in outreach and enrollment. Enroll America staff adapted their messaging, strengthened relationships with media and volunteers, and creatively leveraged contacts and information to reach new populations so that these challenges did not derail their outreach efforts.
- For the third open enrollment, Enroll America plans to expand its footprint by entering rural areas and targeting immigrant and refugee populations. However, the declining numbers of staff and volunteers might compromise outreach efforts. Enroll America is working to institutionalize its outreach processes with partners in both states; this began during the second open enrollment and, given more limited funding to support paid staff, will need to become more entrenched during the third.
- Low health insurance literacy among the target population remains a problem that Enroll America wants to tackle, but pivoting to this issue has been difficult. Little evidence exists about the best ways to educate consumers on concepts such as networks, premiums, and deductibles, and staff and volunteers will be stretched thin, even before taking on this new work, given that the remaining uninsured population is expected to be harder to reach.
Enroll America was established in 2010 as an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization to maximize the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Enroll America launched the Get Covered America campaign in 2013 to find and inform uninsured consumers about their new health insurance options and to connect them with enrollment assistance. This report examines the implementation of Enroll America’s outreach campaign during the second open enrollment period under the ACA in two states: North Carolina and Ohio. Findings document the progress and adaptations Enroll America made during the second open enrollment period, challenges that it successfully addressed during this period, and future challenges and opportunities it can expect to face as it enters the third open enrollment period. The report was written as part of a larger evaluation of Enroll America funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
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