With the January 31 deadline in sight, the enrollment coalition doubles down
to reach young people and communities of color during the final push
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
WASHINGTON – With less than one week to go until the final deadline for the third Affordable Care Act open enrollment period, Enroll America and its 6,700 partners across the country have geared up their outreach to provide resources for consumers who are getting covered before the January 31 deadline. With strong community partnerships with organizations serving youth and people of color kicking into high gear, and thousands of one-on-one appointments with enrollment assisters available, there are ample opportunities for uninsured consumers to learn about their options to enroll in a quality, affordable plan and to avoid the $695 fine.
“This is the fourth quarter of enrollment and the clock is ticking for consumers to take action and enroll in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace before the final deadline,” said Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America. “We’re working hard to make sure consumers understand that it’s their last chance, there is financial help available, and if they don’t get covered, they not only run the risk of running up high medical bills, but may also face a fine of at least $695.”
Thousands of Appointments with Enrollment Assisters Available to Consumers
In order to make sure consumers have the help they need, the enrollment coalition is ramping up resources to provide enrollment support in the days leading up to January 31. Consumers can use the Get Covered Connector to schedule a time to get in-person enrollment help, and for the final two weeks of open enrollment alone, more than 370 assister organizations have made more than 123,000 appointments available. Enroll America and partners also have hosted enrollment events during the last month of the open enrollment period, and will continue to provide accessible enrollment locations through the deadline. In target states like North Carolina, Enroll America is hosting multi-day enrollment events in key cities like Greensboro, where there will be a three-day enrollment fair at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, to provide steady and consistent enrollment support to the community.
Because sustained follow-up is critical to moving consumers to action, Enroll America has continued its successful “chase” program to contact consumers who have been identified as uninsured and follow up with them multiple times over the phone and online to provide information about their options and connect them with local enrollment resources in their community. Throughout the enrollment period, Enroll America has made hundreds of thousands of phone calls and has sent emails to a list of more than 1 million consumers.
Innovative Outreach Tactics to Young People, Communities of Color
Because almost half of the eligible uninsured are between the ages of 18 and 34, outreach groups have made reaching young adults a prime focus. Last week, Enroll America, Young Invincibles and other partners worked together to host National Youth Enrollment Day to engage young adults before the deadline. Participating organizations joined a coordinated push on social media using the hashtag #NYED2016, and hosted over 100 youth-focused information and enrollment events across the country. For example, in Texas, enrollment events at YMCAs in Houston and Dallas provided free in-person enrollment help, along with free HIV and diabetes screenings, tax preparation services, and child care for young parents at no cost.
African Americans and Latinos, despite making historic gains in coverage since the Affordable Care Act took effect, are still more likely to be uninsured than other groups, and new partnerships are helping Enroll America reach these critical communities in the third enrollment period. During the last two weeks of this open enrollment period, Enroll America launched a new project in partnership with the White House “Healthy Communities Challenge” and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and Claflin University, and Divine Nine Greek Letter organizations such as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. These organizations participated in phonathons to call consumers in their communities and connect them to enrollment resources. And this year, Enroll America has expanded our Health Care in the Pulpit program to offer faith leaders – many of whom are among the most trusted voices in African-American communities – more ideas on incorporating health care information into sermons and prayer services to help their congregants connect with local enrollment resources.
Because 63% of uninsured Spanish-speaking Latinos said that talking to someone one-on-one about their options was very important to them, Enroll America is pushing hard to make culturally appropriate enrollment resources available to Latinos in the language they prefer. In Texas, for example, this year 76% of locations offering enrollment assistance on the Get Covered Connector have Spanish-speaking assisters available. And in Colorado last weekend, Enroll America hosted a multicultural enrollment fair with trusted local partners Servicios de la Raza and Aurora Community Assistance Network to provide free in-person enrollment help in English, Spanish, and 10 other languages. Altogether, more than 240 consumers received in-person help at the event, and nearly 70% of those in attendance received assistance in Spanish.
Higher Fine Spurs Consumers to Take Action
In 2016, the fine for not having health coverage will increase significantly to $695 or 2.5% of income, whichever is greater. HHS has made clear that there will not be a Special Enrollment Period for those who learn about the fine during tax filing season (as there was last year), so it’s critical that consumers understand the full effect of the fine while there’s still time to enroll. Enroll America has made an effort to provide consumers with personalized information about the size of the fine, so consumers can make the best financial choice for their families. In order to make sure people are aware of the full tax implications of the law, Enroll America is continuing its successful partnership with Intuit TurboTax to host webinars and Twitter chats to share information about the fine and provide enrollment resources.
About Enroll America and Get Covered America
Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition. An independent nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Enroll America works with more than 6,700 partners in all 50 states to create cutting-edge tools, analyze data, inform policy, and share best practices in service of its mission: maximizing the number of Americans who enroll in and retain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The Get Covered America campaign was created in 2013 to inform millions of eligible consumers about their new health insurance options, and has been tested, refined, and proven successful through two enrollment cycles. Get Covered America programs and tools are now being utilized by partners in enrollment efforts nationwide, supported by more than 100 Enroll America staff working both nationally and on-the-ground in targeted communities across the country.