#Ready4OE2: Boost Enrollment For Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders

By William Tomasko

As we count down to the start of the second open enrollment period (OE2) on November 15, Enroll America’s #Ready4OE2 blog series will feature a new entry every weekday in October sharing lessons learned from OE1 and strategies for OE2. For more tips and tools, check out the #Ready4OE2 webinar series!

Strategy for OE2: Apply lessons learned from OE1 to help more Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) get covered and stay covered.

Where and when it was used: AAs and NHPIs face unique barriers to signing up for health coverage, but the right outreach, education, and enrollment strategies can surmount these obstacles. Action for Health Justice (AHJ), a coalition consisting of four national organizations and more than 70 community-based groups and Federally Qualified Health Centers, worked to maximize enrollment for AAs and NHPIs during OE1. In July and September reports, AHJ outlined lessons learned and successful strategies to use in OE2.

Notable metrics from OE1: AHJ partners reached hundreds of thousands of consumers in dozens of languages:

AANHPI outreach

According to a report from the Center for American Progress, “disproportionately high level of enrollment of Asian Americans in the ACA was most likely due to the efforts of nonprofits that serve Asian Americans — such as the Action for Health Justice.” Enrollment rates were lower among NHPIs, reflecting the need to build upon what worked in OE1 to reach more consumers in OE1.

Best practices to replicate:

  • Create linguistically and culturally appropriate materials, and provide in-language outreach, education, and enrollment assistance. Thirty-one percent of AAs are have limited English proficiency, and 29 percent of NHPIs don’t speak English at home. Enrollment stakeholders can complement official materials by developing high quality translated consumer-facing resources — and testing those resources with community members.
  • Connect AAs and NHPIs to in-language, in-person enrollment assistance: AHJ reported that these appointments were “one of the most effective mechanisms for effective enrollment of community members.” In-person assisters could gain trust through cultural understanding and by offering in-language help.
  • Partner with trusted messengers and organizations that serve AA and NHPI communities. Faith leaders, public officials, ethnic media outlets, and other local leaders in AA and NHPI communities can make effective outreach partners. AAs have the second-highest rate of self-employment, which makes outreach to small businesses an effective way of reaching the community.
  • Be prepared to handle concerns about immigration status, including helping to interpret notices mailed from the government. AAs have the highest proportion of foreign-born U.S. residents of any racial or ethnic group — 60 percent — and 14 percent of NHPIs were born outside of the country. Address misconceptions head on to make sure lawfully present immigrants know their options, and that eligible members of mixed-status families can get covered without affecting undocumented members of the household.
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