#Ready4OE2: Engaging Women to Get Families and Communities Covered

By Ambar J. Calvillo-Rivera

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: Leveraging partnerships to educate and engage women as consumers and as messengers.

Where and when it was used: Across the states throughout OE1.

Notable metrics:

  • Women were 47 percent more likely to report sharing information on the new health coverage options with friends and family, according to a January 2014 survey.
  • Mothers were twice as likely as fathers to have helped a consumer get covered.
  • Two-thirds of the volunteers Get Covered America recruited in its 11 grassroots campaign states were women.
  • Over 50,000 women were directly reached and educated via webinars and email campaigns with partners. 

How it worked:

Going into OE1, Enroll America’s research indicated that women would play a particularly important role — and that was proven to be true. Women tend to be the health care decision makers in their households, and during OE1, we found that they were more likely to enroll than men and more likely to help their friends and family get covered.

Strong partnerships with diverse women’s organizations helped women hear and amplify the “Get Covered” message even more, by building a unified message of education and coordinating work to engage women locally.

To maximize the role of women as messengers during peak months (November-March), women were engaged where they were: online and through organizations they were connected to in their community, such as their health care providers.

Getting those key health coverage messages to women is crucial to helping them get covered, and it also empowers those women to reach other demographic groups. For example, young Americans were more likely to call their mothers and female significant others when looking for advice on health insurance.

Best practices to replicate for OE2:  A successful OE2 will allow trusted sources of information, such as in-person assisters, providers, and women’s organizations, to help educate and connect women to information on health coverage and avenues for them to help spread the word:

  • Engage Women Online: Our research found that uninsured populations — particularly women — are more likely to get their information online and are 13 percent more likely to use social media than men. Use digital platforms such as Twitter, blogs, Instagram, or Google Hangouts to share key information on upcoming deadlines, enrollment events, and other resources such as the Get Covered Calculator.
  • Share Key Messages: Engage women and civic organizations they are affiliated with (e.g. Sororities, YWCA) to share key messages on health coverage. Strategies such as “Each One Reach One” are effective to share messages proven to be key motivators for uninsured consumers to enroll.
  • Leverage Community Partnerships: Work with organizations that serve women and are trusted community sources, such as WIC sites, family planning clinics, Parent Teacher Associations, or community centers to deliver information and meet women where they are.
  • Create Volunteer Opportunities: In-person help and multiple follow-up outreach contacts yielded the best results for consumers to successfully enroll. Knowing this and recognizing over two-thirds of our own volunteer base was women, we see the value of creating opportunities for women to connect with people in their community.  Successful opportunities include:
    • Phone-banks to follow up with identified uninsured consumers.
    • Tabling opportunities at health fairs and community events.
    • Becoming Certified Application Counselors in their community organization.
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