Conducting outreach and in-reach, while optional, can help CAC organizations achieve their goals. Outreach in the context of health coverage enrollment is most often designed to accomplish one or more of the following:
- To increase awareness among the uninsured about the availability and importance of health coverage.
- To maximize enrollment. Strategically advertising the availability of free in-person help, including service locations, hours of operation, and contact information will likely increase the number of individuals that seek in-person assistance. Individuals who had in-person help during the first open enrollment period were twice as likely to successfully enroll compared to those who tried to enroll online without help.
- To engage partners interacting with uninsured individuals to develop referral networks for enrollment services.
In order to be successful, any outreach or in-reach initiative must be conducted in the appropriate language and must be culturally sensitive. It’s also important to include tested messages that resonate with consumers. Enroll America’s research has found the following key messages to be effective motivators for uninsured consumers:
- Consumers have new options for comprehensive, affordable health coverage.
- Financial help is available.
- Consumers can receive free, in-person assistance applying for coverage.
The most successful outreach initiatives must also take into account the population and communities being served. For example, if lack of transportation is a barrier to in-person help for consumers, CAC organizations can find volunteers to drive individuals to their appointments or can work with a local taxi company to secure reduced fare rides. Similarly, if the absence of child care is a barrier, CAC organizations can provide on-site child care. If offering these services, or similar services to reduce barriers to in-person help, it is important to include this information in any outreach materials. See below for examples of outreach and in-reach strategies. Some of these strategies require some planning, but many take just a few minutes. CACs and potential partners can adopt strategies appropriate for their organization based on time and resources available.
|Strategies for CAC Organizations/Individual CACs|
|Consider identifying a central location to provide enrollment assistance (e.g. a library) and keep consistent hours of operation. This will help ensure individuals can follow up with questions or come back to complete the enrollment process.|
|Contact the local radio station and ask to participate in a live interview to promote enrollment services and/or events.|
|Invite local DJs and journalists to broadcast live from a specific enrollment event.|
|Add information about enrollment services to email signatures.|
|Ask the local newspaper to place a free ad or insert about where to find in-person help.|
|Post information about enrollment services via social media channels.|
|Send text messages to family members and friends to promote in-person help.|
|Word of mouth is effective; CACs can ask every single consumer to refer an uninsured friend.|
|Work with local media to share stories of local consumers who have enrolled in coverage.|
|Strategies Community Partners Can Support|
|Post information about enrollment services on the organization’s website and in other visible places at the organization, such as the reception area.|
|Share information about the availability of enrollment assistance through their existing scheduled communications, group email list, newsletters, and direct mailings.|
|Faith-based partners can include information about enrollment services on a bulletin board or in a weekend program.|
|Local partners can allow and encourage their staff to volunteer to distribute outreach materials promoting enrollment services at different locations, such as ethnic grocery stores and news agents, barber shops, hairs salons, local gyms, etc.|
|Social service agencies can refer uninsured individuals to local CACs.|
|Partners can leave an “on-hold” message on their organization’s phone system with a recording about where to find in-person help applying for coverage.|
|Partners that are hosting events can use the opportunity to support CAC enrollment efforts by adding information to their flyers or posters, or making announcements about where to find in-person help on the day of the event.|