CHA News Article

Issue Brief Details Lessons Learned from In-Person Enrollment Assisters
Focuses on successful outreach and enrollment

The Kaiser Family Foundation has released an issue brief identifying key strategies that contributed to the success of in-person enrollment assisters, who played an important role in connecting consumers with health coverage during the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) first open enrollment period. Titled Connecting Consumers to Coverage: Lessons Learned from Assisters for Successful Outreach and Enrollment, the report also identifies priorities and challenges as in-person assisters look ahead to the next open enrollment period.

In-person assisters interviewed for the survey identified several key strategies that they believe contributed to their successful enrollment efforts, including:

  • Recruit a committed group of assisters who are able to reach key target populations. The assisters in the study shared a personal commitment to enroll people in health coverage, and they had experience working with the populations they sought to serve. This commitment and experience enabled assisters to build trust with consumers, which was critical to breaking down barriers to enrollment.
  • Foster strong partnerships and collaborations among assisters. Assisters emphasized the importance of partnerships and collaborations across their organizations as a way to share best practices, stay abreast of policy changes, and coordinate outreach and enrollment events. Networking with other assisters was the most consistently helpful strategy for facilitating their work.
  • Build relationships with local organizations and stakeholders to reach people in their communities. Partnering with key stakeholders in the community helped assisters expand their reach. Assisters noted they could not wait for consumers to come to them; rather, they went into the communities where people live and work.
  • Focus on outreach and consumer education about the law and health insurance. Lack of knowledge among consumers about the health law and new coverage options proved to be a major hurdle for assisters. Conducting outreach to raise awareness of the law was a necessary step before they could sign people up.
  • Provide ongoing support to consumers throughout the process, including applying for coverage, selecting a plan and accessing care. Once they have insurance, helping people understand how to access care has been an unexpected challenge for assisters. They have developed educational materials and tools to assist consumers.

The in-person assisters also reported priorities for the coming year, including strengthening coordination efforts with other assisters; starting outreach earlier with an increased emphasis on the individual mandate penalty as a way to motivate consumers; and fostering more community ties, especially with physicians. At the same time, those interviewed noted that overcoming misinformation and lack of awareness about the ACA and ensuring that people who are enrolled renew their coverage will present challenges during the next open enrollment period.

The full report is attached.