This post was written by Kate Bicego, Consumer Assistance Program Manager, and Hannah Frigand, HelpLine Manager, of Health Care for All, Massachusetts.
“We have succeeded in covering millions of people — now we have to keep them covered” was a message we heard numerous times throughout Enroll America’s State of Enrollment conference. The days at #SOE2014 were jam-packed with informative workshops and plenaries offering innovative, creative, and experience-driven ideas about how to successfully engage the remaining uninsured and keep those that have enrolled covered. And we know Navigators, Certified Application Counselors (CACs), and other assisters will be critical to ensuring this work is done and done right!
Here are some of our key takeaways to helping consumers keep coverage that we brought back to Massachusetts:
- Less is more — It is essential that people know that they need to renew their coverage and how to complete the process. However, it is also important not to overwhelm people with too much information during the initial conversation about renewing or changing coverage.
- See every interaction as an opportunity — Just as every change in a household could cause a gap in health care coverage, every contact with a consumer is an opportunity to remind people about the need to update their marketplace account with any information about life changes and to review their coverage every year to ensure successful renewal.
- Meet people where they are — Borrow an existing audience rather than trying to build one, and use it as an opportunity to educate folks about getting covered and staying covered.
- Fight against churn — Accidental gaps in coverage may happen, but they are something we all have to work to combat. It’s the only way to ensure people can consistently access the health care services they need!
- Think creatively about retention — Many states are using unique strategies to combat coverage gaps or disenrollments. For example, Massachusetts offers Navigators, CACs, and other assisters the opportunity to receive carbon-copy notices of renewal that are sent to applicants they have assisted. This allows them to make outgoing calls and to send texts and emails to their clients reminding them that it’s time to renew.
#SOE2014 was a first-of-its-kind event convening hundreds of health care stakeholders committed to health coverage enrollment and retention. The opportunity to learn from and share promising and best practices with so many informed people from all over the country was informative and exciting. There’s no doubt that the takeaways we brought back to Massachusetts will ensure that hundreds of thousands of people get, and stay, covered during the upcoming open enrollment period!