A Navigator in New Jersey Who’s Helping Uninsured Nail Salon Workers Get Covered

By Guest Blogger

This post was written by Jenise Rolle, Outreach Coordinator, The Navigator Exchange Program at The Center For Family Services.

When it comes to giving people information about how to get covered, it’s important to meet them where they are. So when Thu Pham, a Navigator with the Center For Family Services in Southern New Jersey, wanted to help uninsured nail salon workers get covered, she met them were they were — at the nail salon.

According to Thu, “many of the owners of nail salons do not trust non-Vietnamese speakers because they feel that the individual is trying to conduct an inspection or sell products.” Thu speaks Vietnamese and she’s equipped to give the workers the information they need.

She’s shared information with dozens of nail salons throughout Camden, Burlington, and Atlantic Counties in South Jersey. As a direct result of her efforts, she has helped almost 100 individuals enroll in marketplace plans.

Some of the secrets to her success:

  • “Many nail salon technicians think that health insurance is too expensive and they cannot afford it,” says Pham, who emphasizes to workers that financial help is available.
  • Nail salons have fluctuating and busy hours during the day, so it can be hard to speak with staff about health insurance when they are busy with clients. Pham has found that it is best to call the salon in advance, speak with a manager, and visit during the suggested times given by the manager.
  • While visiting nail salons, it’s helpful to have language-specific written materials about how to receive enrollment assistance for health insurance. Make it so the employees can easily see what number to call to make an appointment or ask questions.
  • She makes sure to let the nail salon staff know when she will be in the area at a local library or community center, so that they can easily make appointments on the days when a Navigator is nearby.

Thu has also made connections with Vietnamese churches and community organizations through some of her conversations at nail salons, which leads to reaching even more consumers.

The Center For Family Services, a non-profit organization in Camden, New Jersey, has a Navigator Exchange Program (where Thu Pham works) that helps those without health insurance navigate their way through the marketplace and NJ Family Care.

Enroll America (at a national and state level) has partnered with our organization to host info sessions and share outreach resources since the first open enrollment period in 2013. And we look forward to continuing to work with them on tailored outreach strategies like Thu Pham’s work with nail salons!

If you’re interested in exploring a partnership with Enroll America to help get your community covered, sign up here and we will be in touch!

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