Four Days Until the Deadline. Four Ways the Enrollment Coalition Is Getting the Word Out.

By William Tomasko

January 31 is the last day to sign up for marketplace health coverage during open enrollment for 2016. Including today, there are just four days left to reach people about the opportunity to get covered and stay covered!

That means this is crunch time for the outreach and enrollment community. More than 11.3 million have already signed up, and we can see the momentum at the county level as sign-ups surpass last year’s totals. Deadlines motivate people to take action, so the next few days will be jam-packed.

Here are four ways the enrollment coalition is doubling down on tried-and-true strategies and reach communities that could benefit the most by January 31:

1. Following Up With Consumers

After identifying people who are uninsured and looking for information on getting covered, we contact them multiple times over the phone and through email in a follow-up program. In those conversations, they can learn more about their new options and get connected to local resources. This open enrollment period, we’ve made hundreds of thousands of such phone calls and sent emails to a list of more than 1 million consumers.

2. Making In-Person Assistance Available

Last year, people who got free in-person help with their application were nearly 60 percent likelier to successfully get covered. In the final two weeks of this open enrollment period, more than 370 organizations have made more than 123,000 appointments with assisters available through the Get Covered Connector.

3. Engaging Young Adults and Communities of Color 

Almost half of the uninsured who are eligible for marketplace coverage are between the ages of 18 and 34. For National Youth Enrollment Day with Young Invincibles last week, we hosted over 100 information and enrollment events for young adults. At YMCA events in Houston and Dallas, people could get free in-person enrollment help, along with free HIV and diabetes screenings and help with tax prep.

Through new partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Greek Letter organizations, and faith groups, we’ve been reaching African American communities and equipping local leaders with outreach tools. In a National Latino Week of Action, organizations coordinated to get the word out about benefits of the Affordable Care Act that particularly resonated with Latinos. And assister partners are making sure to offer appointments in Spanish — for example, in Texas, 76 percent of organizations offering appointments through the Connector have Spanish-speaking assisters to help consumers.

4. Reinforcing Awareness of the Fine

The fine for not having health coverage is going up for 2015, and unlike last year, there’s not a Special Enrollment Period for people who find out they owe a fine at tax time. That makes getting the word out before the January 31 deadline even more urgent. The fine has increased to $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher. We’re providing consumers with personalized information on the size of the fine so people have the information they need to make the best financial choice for their families. And we’re teaming up with partners like Intuit TurboTax to make sure consumers know how to navigate the connections between filing taxes and getting covered.

 

For this last outreach push, you can find tools, tips, and resources to share with consumers at GetCoveredAmerica.org. Here’s to a productive end to another successful open enrollment period!

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