Making Assistance Programs More Efficient and Better for Consumers: Insights From the Get Covered Connector

By Molly Warren

We know that in-person application assistance can make people more likely to successfully get covered. But how can those assistance programs work more efficiently, enhance their programs, and help even more consumers?

A new data source points to specific ways assisters can make sure they’re meeting the needs of people looking for health insurance. Enroll America recently released an issue brief, Making the Connection: How Centralized Scheduling Benefits Consumers, Assisters, and the Enrollment Community, that covers lessons learned from Enroll America’s Get Covered Connector (an assistance-scheduling tool for consumers).

Insights from the data gathered from the Connector — including a half million appointments offered, 60,000 appointments scheduled, and 36,000 appointments with outcome data for the second open enrollment period (OE2) — can help organizations design assistance programs that are more accessible for consumers and maximize assisters’ time.

Here are a few insights that might be helpful to keep in mind while planning assister programs in OE3:

 What the Connector data show
How this can inform your program
Seven in 10 consumers completed their appointments as scheduled (15 percent cancelled or rescheduled and 15 percent were no-shows). Plan your program with the expectation that about 30 percent of all consumers will not attend appointments. That can include strategically overbooking appointments or planning alternate work for assisters whose clients do not attend the appointments.
Consumers were more likely to show up for their appointment if they were in contact with a person before the appointment. Connect with consumers in advance of their appointment to confirm the date, time, and location. Enroll America staff and volunteers often helped local assisters with this task during OE2.
Weekend appointments were almost twice as likely to be filled, and enrollment rates were 20 percent higher compared with weekday appointments. Offer more weekend appointments. During OE2 there were fewer Sunday appointments than Saturday appointments in the Get Covered Connector. Adding more Sunday appointments in OE3 could be an opportunity to increase weekend capacity if adding more Saturday appointments is not possible.
Consumers made more appointments before deadlines, with a sharp peak in demand at the end of open enrollment. Provide as much direct application assistance as possible in the weeks before deadlines, particularly for the final, end-of-open-enrollment deadline. Conversely, plan more outreach and education work just after or well before deadlines when there is lower demand for application assistance.
Consumers were more likely to complete appointments and enroll during appointments prior to deadlines. Plan for a slightly higher attendance rates (we saw about 4 percent boost) in the weeks before deadlines to reduce wait times and ensure the maximum number of individuals are helped.

For more insights from the Connector and to learn more about the value of an assistance-scheduling tool, check out the assister issue brief and corresponding webinar. Happy OE3 planning!

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