REPORT: State of Enrollment: Lessons Learned from Connecting America to Coverage

By Sophie Stern

Today, Enroll America is releasing an 89-page report capturing key findings and lessons learned from the initial open enrollment period (OEP1). Hot off the press, State of Enrollment: Lessons Learned from Connecting America to Coverage, captures lessons learned on how to meet consumers where they are — with earned media, digital outreach, and on-the-ground grassroots efforts — based on key findings from Enroll America’s data-driven consumer-facing Get Covered America campaign, and from national, state, and local-level partnerships across the country.

This report is directly informed by a wide array of stakeholders. In the weeks directly following the end of OEP1, Enroll America held more than 50 debriefs with staff, volunteers, and partners and surveyed over 350 representatives of national, state, and local partner organizations, and all of its national staff, to learn about best practices from OEP1 —all of this information is captured in this report.

While there is still much to uncover about what worked well and why during OEP1, here are a few of the key lessons learned:

  • National, state, and local partnerships drove success. In a survey of representatives from Enroll America’s partner organizations, 73 percent said partnerships were “critically important” to their work. This report captures the critical role partnerships played in expanding reach through concrete examples at the national, state, and local levels.
  • News coverage played a significant role in raising awareness of the health insurance marketplaces and boosting attendance at enrollment events, in part because of strong partnerships with ethnic media, which had an especially broad reach. Among those who were uninsured and got insurance, 17 percent cited local news as a source of information on the ACA. This was the third largest source of information for the newly enrolled and previously uninsured, after online and friends and family.
  • Providing a consistent time and location for enrollment events — for example, the local library from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. — helped spread the word in communities, and consumers responded well to this strategy.
  • In-person help was crucial. Consumers who received help from a navigator, Certified Application Counselor, or other in-person assister were about twice as likely to successfully enroll compared to consumers who attempted to enroll online without help.
  • Financial assistance messages were key motivators. Informing consumers about the availability of financial assistance was the single most effective way to motivate uninsured consumers to enroll, and this will likely remain the biggest motivator heading into the next annual open enrollment period.
  • Consumers wanted individualized information. Moving away from personal stories, and instead promoting individualized information about coverage and costs through tools like the Get Covered Calculator, increased the clicks on GetCoveredAmerica.org by nearly 10-fold.
  • Following up with consumers multiple times yielded the best results, specifically among certain hard-to-reach populations. With each contact from an Enroll America volunteer or staffer, consumers became more likely to successfully enroll.

Going forward, enrollment stakeholders have the opportunity to be even more effective by taking lessons learned from OEP1 and sharing them far and wide with various enrollment stakeholders. That is the main goal of this report. To learn more about lessons learned and best practices to replicate, make sure to download the full report.

Enroll America is also holding its national State of Enrollment: Getting America Covered conference this week, June 16-18, in Washington, D.C., to continue the conversation on how to successfully connect individuals to coverage.  If you are not joining us in person, you can watch live broadcasts of plenary sessions here. If you’re on Twitter, you can also follow along with the hashtag #SOE2014!

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