How North Carolina Phone-a-Thons Spread the Word About Open Enrollment and Strengthened Local Partnerships

By Guest Blogger

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In the final weeks of the second open enrollment period, we’re sharing blog posts from partner organizations about how they’re getting the word out — and featuring strategies organizations can use before February 15.

This post was written by Marcy M. Buckner of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Strategy: Hold a phone-a-thon at a local TV station with local agents, brokers, and Navigators on hand to answer viewers’ calls and connect them with the information and help they need to get covered.

Who can use this strategy: Before the February 15 deadline, outreach and enrollment organizations that already have relationships with a local TV station — and that have staff or volunteers to answer the phones — can run a phone-a-thon.

Resources you can use: This Enroll America publication has lots of helpful tips on holding phone-a-thons.

In January 2015, members of the North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters (NCAHU) worked alongside Navigators at Raleigh’s WRAL TV station to host a phone-a-thon about the health insurance marketplace. Almost 50 individuals participated in answering hundreds of calls from viewers, and providing information about open enrollment and marketplace coverage.

Liz Gallops, NCAHU’s president elect, said that the demand for the phonebank was so high that by the time she answered her last call, the gentleman she spoke to had been waiting on hold for almost an hour. Demand is going to be surging before the February 15 deadline, so it’s important to allocate resources accordingly. This was just one in a series of phone banks the NCAHU has participated in across the state.

Another plus from the event was it brought agents and brokers together with other kinds of in-person assisters in the Raleigh area. NCAHU members that participated in the event said that this was a great way to meet Navigators in their community, open the lines of communications, and learn from each other. One agent said there were often times when a navigator would lean over and ask them a question from a caller that they didn’t know the answer to, and vice versa, so this was very much a collaborative experience for everyone.

Aside from joining together for WRAL’s phone-a-thon, NCAHU and Navigators have also created a bi-weekly group with all types of in-person assisters to discuss challenges and share tips, best practices, and information. This agent, Navigator, and assister consortium has also just created a new consumer-facing site with the help of Enroll America: NCGetCovered.org. Visit the website now to see how assisters are delivering facts — and in-person help — to consumers in the final weeks of open enrollment!

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