#Ready4OE2: Team Effort Paved the Way in New Hampshire

By Guest Blogger

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!

This post was written by New Hampshire Voices for Health.

Strategy for OE2: Create a Consumer Assistance Task Force to facilitate collaboration on enrollment efforts among key stakeholders.

Where and when it was used: New Hampshire throughout OE1.

Notable metrics from OE1: 40,262 consumers in New Hampshire enrolled in marketplace coverage during OE1 (more than twice the projected amount)!

How it worked: New Hampshire Voices for Health (Voices), a well-established nonprofit health policy advocacy organization that works statewide, launched a Consumer Assistance Task Force in the months leading up to OE1. Voices facilitated collaboration through bringing in-person assisters together for monthly meetings to help them identify common challenges and learn more about what their colleagues were doing. The Consumer Assistance Task Force built a strong level of coordination among those organizations and individuals helping consumers sign up for coverage.

But the meetings themselves were just one component of the Consumer Assistance Task Force! Following up on topics discussed at the meetings, Voices staff worked to relay the best information to assisters via their weekly newsletter, direct emails, and a web page that focused exclusively on providing tools and policy guidance, including the latest updates. To ensure we were always providing the most accurate and up-to-date information, we engaged the state’s then-sole marketplace issuer, the New Hampshire Insurance Department, and regional staff from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), among others.

The key to these enrollment efforts in New Hampshire was fostering an inclusive environment that led to an ongoing and productive dialogue. In-person assisters were able to talk directly to each other, to learn and share best practices — everything from trouble-shooting complex cases with enrollment applications to effective techniques for education and outreach.  State and federal officials occasionally attended not only to relay information to in-person assisters, but also to learn how the enrollment process was going at the ground level.

We closed OE1 by gathering feedback from in-person assisters to identify strengths and weaknesses to help them make adjustments for OE2. As our resulting debrief report showed, the Consumer Assistance Task Force helped assisters tremendously because it created a space where they could turn to their peers in the trenches. Assisters are already planning and working together about strategies to help enrollees and the remaining uninsured #GetCovered and #StayCovered!

Best practices to replicate for OE2:

  • Create opportunities for enrollment stakeholders to meet regularly and share updates from their state or region.
  • Share enrollment updates and new policy guidance among in-person assisters through a newsletter, website, or other easily accessible channel.
  • Engage marketplace issuers as well as federal and state officials to help assisters better answer enrollment questions and share lessons from on the ground.
  • Debrief with other enrollment stakeholders to identify key lessons from past experiences and use them to refine future enrollment efforts.
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