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 agents and brokers to maximize in-person assistance at enrollment events.
Where and when it was used: Jacksonville, Florida during the first open enrollment period (OE1).
Notable metrics from OE1: Twenty agents at five events with more than 3,000 attendees.
How it worked:
Based on a June 2014 Urban Institute survey, we know that the vast majority of consumers who turned to agents and brokers for information on the marketplaces found them helpful. Specifically, 84 percent of consumers who used an agent or broker found him/her to be a “very or somewhat helpful source of information” (this was the highest consumer ranking of all information sources).
During OE1, Enroll America saw the benefit of partnering with agents and brokers firsthand. In Jacksonville, Florida, for example, Enroll America partnered with 20 marketplace-certified agents from the First Coast Multi-Lines Agency. These agents were able to add crucial in-person assistance capacity in a region with only a handful of other assisters, which is so important since we know consumers who get help enroll at double the rate of other consumers!
Enrollment events in the Jacksonville area attracted a huge number of people, and one of the biggest challenges was meeting consumer demand for in-person help. The agents that stepped up in Jacksonville met a huge need and ensured more consumers at these events got the help they needed. The First Coast agents provided great customer service, worked incredibly hard — they came early, stayed late, and worked as long as individual consumers needed to find a plan — and were willing to work hand in hand with other partners to meet the shared goal of getting consumers enrolled in coverage.
Here at Enroll America we have found that setting expectations ahead of time is one key to successful partnerships and enrollment events. For OE2, Enroll America is having its in-person assister partners (Navigators, Certified Application Counselors, agents, brokers, etc.) sign a short pledge before an enrollment event to ensure expectations are aligned among partners from the start, and that each consumer assisted will get help enrolling in a plan that best meets their needs and budget. A similar approach may be helpful to other organizations as they begin to explore working with different types of assisters.
Enroll America plans on continuing and expanding our partnership with Jacksonville agents during OE2. Agents, Navigators, and other assisters will work together to make sure consumers get the help they need to get covered and stay covered.
Best practices to replicate during OE2
- Partner with agents and brokers to maximize in-person assistance. You can look to the National Association of Health Underwriters’ agent directory, each state’s department of insurance, or Enroll America’s Locator tool to find potential agent or broker partners.
- Establish ground rules for all in-person assisters beforehand to ensure everyone’s goals align and expectations are met.
To hear more about agents and brokers, and ways to partner with them, you can listen to the recording of Enroll America’s webinar on the topic: Partnering with Agents and Brokers to Boost In-Person Assistance and Enrollment.