#StateOfEnrollment: Reaching Out to Small Businesses to Move the Needle on Enrollment

By Guest Blogger

This post was written by Karen Kelly, Community Organizer for the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance.

Strategy: Engaging small business owners and statewide business network organizations to educate individuals about their new coverage options

When and where it was used: Throughout New Hampshire during the initial open enrollment period

Notable metrics: Reached more than 1,000 individuals about their new coverage options

In the Granite State, we have limited resources for outreach and enrollment. This has forced us to think of creative ways reach uninsured and underinsured individuals. One of our main strategies has been to engage a crucial network of influencers in the state: local small businesses.

Small businesses are the core of New Hampshire’s economy, and small business owners can act as trusted, reliable messengers about the new health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act.

The New Hampshire Citizens Alliance has connected with 1,280 business leaders in the state, in addition to leading business network organizations. And so far, by our estimates, 200 of the businesses that have worked most closely with us have been able to reach well over 1,000 employees about their new coverage options.

We’ve used a two-tiered approach to ask small businesses to help their employees get covered:

  1. Encouraging small business to sign onto our Health Care Principles pledge, and
  2. Working directly with business network organizations to reach more employers, who in turn will be able to engage more consumers.

Our Health Care Principles pledge encompasses a broad set of principles to encourage employers to provide relevant information to their employees about new health coverage options through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), or through the individual marketplace if the employer has chosen not to offer employee health coverage. The principles in the pledge are designed to attract as many like-minded business leaders as possible.

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Any business that signs on to our pledge is entered directly into our database so that we are able to track their ongoing participation in outreach and education efforts.

Best practices to replicate:

  • Identifying small employers upfront who can act as messengers was key. From the beginning, we knew certain small employers would be more willing to sign our pledge than others. By approaching these organizations first, we were able to reach employees in need of health coverage immediately while we worked to build relationships with other small employers.
  • Partners were our best validators and allowed us to expand our reach. Engaging small employers that were familiar with our organization helped us gain momentum, because small employers were more likely to sign on to our pledge once others had signed on.
  • Our partners also helped us spread our message, which allowed us to engage more employers than we could have done on our own.
  • Making a simple “ask” went a long way. Small employers that signed on to our pledge were more engaged and willing to share information about new coverage options with their employees.

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For more ideas on how to take your outreach and enrollment efforts to the next level in the coming months, register today for our national conference, State of Enrollment: Getting America Covered, in Washington, D.C., June 16-18.

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