Health Care Enrollment - Member Experiences and Resources
In January 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report that stated 2.2 million Americans have already enrolled in individual health care insurance through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act. The numbers are encouraging, but the effort is not over; Americans have until March 31, 2014, to choose health care coverage for the upcoming year.
As trusted members of their communities, Alliance for Children and Families member organizations serve important roles in the enrollment process. Their tactics range from directly enrolling individuals, to connecting those whom they serve to the appropriate resources, to providing educational information. Below are two examples of the excellent work our members engage in to help get their communities get health care insurance.
The Opportunity Alliance Enrolls Community Members
Alliance member The Opportunity Alliance in Portland, Maine is a partner organization of Western Maine Community Action, a recipient of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Navigator grants. As a Navigator grantee, it is able to provide direct outreach and enrollment services in its community.
To assist Western Maine Community Action in their efforts, the Opportunity Alliance partnered with several organizations including Maine Equal Justice and Consumers for Affordable Health Care. These organizations pointed community members interested in coverage toward the Opportunity Alliance.
During the initial stages of enrollment, the Opportunity Alliance observed a curious and inquisitive population. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm transformed into frustration as applicants found they were unable to enroll through the federal website due to technical difficulties. With website improvements and successful enrollment, the community feels positive about their coverage.
Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles Refers Enrollees
Alliance member Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles (JFS) assisted with health care enrollment in a different capacity. Unlike the Opportunity Alliance, JFS does not directly enroll its community. JFS serves as a certified community provider, an agency that connects the community to direct enrollment entities. In preparation for its new endeavor, JFS conducted an internal employee education campaign. The organization pulled together a small group of staff that represented its program areas. Once knowledgeable, they educated their respective programs.
Similar to the Opportunity Alliance, JFS relied on community partnerships to assist its efforts. For instance, JFS has a working relationship with a local federally qualified health center that also acted as a certified enrollment entity. JFS leveraged this partnership to create a direct referral pathway.
Resources for Organizations
As you think about your organization’s enrollment activities, think about who in the community is a potential partner and what you have the capacity to do. To assist in outreach work, Enroll America has created toolkits to help you educate your community including constituency-specific tool kits (Latinos, young adults, and African Americans) as well as tips for outreach.