#Ready4OE2: Partner With Trusted Messengers From Faith-Based Organizations

By Rev. Derrick Harkins

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: Partner with faith-based organizations to maximize the effectiveness of outreach and enrollment activities.

When and where it was used: Nationwide with faith-based organizations from a broad spectrum of traditions.

Notable metrics from OE1:

  • Over 1,500 outreach and enrollment events at churches, mosques, temples, and faith centers, touching over 110,000 congregants.
  • We held four National Faith Weekend of Action Events to engage Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith communities.

How it worked: Enroll America built a diverse coalition of faith-based organizations and networks to engage their collective membership of over 20 million congregants nationwide in outreach and enrollment activities during OE1. We worked to empower faith leaders to be trusted messengers on the importance of health coverage through our Health Care From the Pulpit program and toolkit. 

Throughout OE1, we saw that faith-based organizations and faith leaders were trusted messengers and validators in their communities. These organizations and leaders were also invaluable in overcoming socioeconomic and cultural barriers, as well as providing avenues and networks for sharing information and best practices.

Our partners consisted of national denominations and organizations, including, among others, the National Baptist Convention, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, American Muslim Health Professionals, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Their ability to engage their networks mobilized thousands of volunteers and led to a number of major enrollment events. Connecting with local congregations allowed both Enroll America and faith-based organizations to advance their missions. Faith-based organizations not only helped ensure that individuals gained coverage, but also broadened their own community and civic engagement.

As we get closer to OE2 and renewals enter the picture, we know that trusted messengers such as faith-based organizations will continue to play a central role in helping more Americans #GetCovered and #StayCovered.

We intend to refine and improve our enrollment strategies based on these initial lessons to continue planning local enrollment events with faith-based organizations, expand our Health Care From the Pulpit toolkit, and recruit and train additional Certified Application Counselors within the faith communities.

Best practices to replicate for OE2:

  • Develop a focused enrollment program with practical steps to help faith leaders publicize and plan enrollment events, including plans for evaluating and reporting on enrollment efforts.
  • Design a communications and messaging strategy to promote the key benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to members of faith-based communities.
  • Work with faith-based partners to designate an ACA outreach representative who will lead internal outreach and enrollment efforts as well as act as a liaison with external partners.
  • Identify organizational strength and weaknesses regionally and adopt strategies where other partners can add value and/or build capacity for specific faith-based organizations.
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