The universe of individuals and families who will be newly eligible for health coverage in January 2014 is large and diverse. We know from consumer research (like the nationwide research recently commissioned by Enroll America) that many people will need help enrolling in coverage-and they will want that help in different ways. Between 33 and 45 percent of those who need help prefer to get it over the phone, while others prefer getting help in person or online.
With this in mind, Benefits Data Trust and Enroll America developed a short policy brief to highlight the importance of telephonic signatures, or “spoken signatures,” as a crucial technology solution to ensure a smooth application and enrollment process for those applying for health coverage over the phone. State and federal agencies need to start planning now to determine how telephonic signatures will be incorporated into the single, streamlined application process that will be offered by exchanges and Medicaid/CHIP agencies.
In this policy brief, you will find the following:
- Background on telephonic signatures, including examples from three states that implemented this technology for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps).
- Four key questions that state leaders and enrollment stakeholders should explore to ensure that telephonic signatures can be used in time for open enrollment in October 2013.
- An explanation of why navigators, assisters, and other application counselors should be able to facilitate telephonic signatures. Exchange call centers may not be equipped to spend extensive time on the phone with each consumer who needs help applying, enrolling, and choosing a plan, but navigators and assisters are well positioned to offer this support.
Preparing to use telephonic signatures is one of many important steps to removing long-standing barriers to enrollment and ensuring that new health insurance consumers successfully obtain high-quality, affordable coverage. And since IT systems are being built right now, there’s no time to waste!