Get the Word Out: Outreach Tips for You or Your Organization

By Jessica Kendall

October is finally here. Many of us having been waiting for this for years—the first month of open enrollment. Although the immediate focus has been on October 1st, with that day behind us, it’s time to push up our shirtsleeves, because the real work is just beginning. You don’t need to have a massive 150-page outline of everything you are going to be doing over this year, nor do you need to be an expert on every intricacy of the Affordable Care Act. What you do need is to do SOMETHING.

So what now? People will never apply for something they’ve never heard of, or that they don’t think may be available to them. But you know the facts. Now is the time for YOU to reach out to your co-workers, your neighbors, your friends, your family, and everyone that you or your organization comes in contact with to spread the word that coverage is available and that people can APPLY NOW to have their coverage begin January 1st. We’ve waited a long time. We don’t have to wait any longer.

Below are some ideas of how you can spread the word—try one of them or try all of them.

And if you try two or three, let us know how it goes by e-mailing us here, and we can feature your projects in a future blog post!

Ideas for you or your organization:

  • Talk to your friends, family members and neighbors about the availability of health insurance—they will help you to spread the word.
  • Partner with a local organization that provides application assistance to:
    • Offer on-site application assistance to help consumers apply.
  • Place information about the new coverage options on your telephone system’s “on-hold” recording.
  • Incorporate information about the new options into any communications that you have with staff and co-workers during trainings, educational opportunities, and staff meetings.
  • Ensure all staff know how to connect the people they interact with to you and/or enrollment assisters!
  • Post a button with information about the Health Insurance Marketplace and link to it on your organization’s website.
  • Add links to the Health Insurance Marketplace in signatures in outgoing emails.
  • Disseminate information through your organization’s previously scheduled communications, such as action alerts, newsletters, and direct mailings.
  • Coordinate contests among staff.
  • Promote consistency across the organization so information is standardized.
  • Explore multiple ways to contact patients:
    • Phone
    • E-mail
    • Text
    • Facebook
    • Direct mail
    • For some entities, it will be important to obtain “express consent” on patient forms for certain strategies you may use. For example, voice broadcast and text messages are very cost-effective in-reach tools, but you may need permission to contact the people your organization serves.
  • Consider all the opportunities that exist to educate and assist consumers with coverage:
    • The waiting room
    • Front desk staff interactions
    • Clinical support staff interactions
    • Follow-up appointment scheduling
    • What can you do?
    • Hang up posters.
    • Have flyers/brochures/fact sheets/cards available.
    • Hold on-site promotions.
    • Make sure materials available are culturally and linguistic appropriate.
  • Assess all consumer entry points – use each one as an opportunity:
    • How do consumers connect with your organization on a routine basis?
      • Scheduling? Check-in? Patient portal? Nurse triage? Case managers? Outreach workers? Group visits? Preventive service reminders?
      • Implement a process at each entry point to educate and assist potentially eligible consumers.

Have any other ideas that aren’t on this list? Share your thoughts with us by e-mailing them to inquiries@enrollamerica.org.

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