Observations from Opening Weekend of Affordable Care Act Enrollment

Improved website, steady demand combine to get the second
Affordable Care Act open enrollment period off to a fast start.

WASHINGTON, DC – This weekend, the second open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act got off to a strong start with tens of thousands of Americans beginning the process of enrolling in quality affordable health insurance. This Saturday and Sunday alone, Enroll America held more than 170 outreach and enrollment events across the country, and Enroll America staff and volunteers spoke directly with more than 5,000 consumers in 11 states about their health insurance options.

“This weekend was a great first step towards reaching the millions of Americans who stand to benefit from the health insurance options available through the Affordable Care Act,” said Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America. “Whether consumers are enrolling for the first time or renewing their coverage, our team has built a strong foundation in communities across the country to provide the information and resources consumers need to get covered and stay covered.”

Observations from Enroll America Field Director John Gilbert:

  1. Our experience on the ground matches the reports of news outlets throughout the weekend: HealthCare.gov is working much better than it did last year. Staff, volunteers, and assister groups all agreed that this year’s smooth launch was night and day compared to the issues we faced last year. We’ve only heard a few reports of isolated error messages (associated with password resets) from the thousands of consumers and more than a thousand assisters we’re working with, but those incidents are being resolved, and overall, both consumers and assisters are very happy with how the website is functioning.
  2. Turnout to events was strong and steady throughout the weekend. Since we know from last year that many consumers wait until closer to enrollment deadlines to take action, the initial interest we saw is a great sign that consumers are eager to find an affordable plan and enroll in coverage. From our research we’ve seen that consumers need to be engaged multiple times in order to move to action—especially in harder to reach populations. This weekend was a great first step for thousands of people and we’ll continue to repeatedly engage consumers throughout this enrollment period so that they act before the February 15 deadline.
  3. Overall, a majority of those who enrolled at our events were enrolling in insurance for the first time. We were thrilled to see those who did not get covered during the first open enrollment period exploring their options on the first day the Marketplace opened back up for business. We also saw some really encouraging stories of people who were able to save a lot of money when they renewed by shopping around rather than waiting to be automatically renewed. We’ll continue to encourage everyone who needs to renew to update their information and take a look at all of their options before settling on a plan for next year.

Stories of Success

11 19 14 Reg Sq

In Jacksonville, FL, Get Covered America hosted an enrollment event (above) at the local Regency Square Mall thanks to the mall’s generous donation of 10,000 square feet of space to serve as a permanent resource hub during the open enrollment period. On the first day alone, more than 250 individuals came out to the event to speak with in-person assisters and learn more about the options available to them.

11 19 14 joy

In North Carolina, Joy Floyd (above) celebrated her birthday by signing up for health insurance. Joy had been contacted multiple times by Get Covered America-North Carolina in the lead up to open enrollment. Website problems discouraged her when she tried to enroll last fall, so she didn’t end up enrolling in coverage. This year, she sought in-person help on opening day at a Get Covered America event in Mecklenburg County, and thanks to a tax credit, she secured coverage for just $11.75 a month.

 

To learn more about Enroll America’s outreach efforts, or to speak to consumers who have enrolled in coverage, please contact press@enrollamerica.org.
About Get Covered America and Enroll America

Get Covered America is a national campaign of Enroll America that is focused on educating consumers about the benefits of health coverage and the new health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act. With operations in eleven states (AZ, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OH, PA, TN and TX), our grassroots team is powered by passionate staff and volunteers with one motivating goal: to give Americans the information they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition, bringing together community and health organizations, businesses and others to inform consumers about the new health coverage options and how to enroll in them. It is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization focused on one goal: maximizing the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage.

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