On Monday, Enroll America said that it has doubled its staff and attracted thousands of volunteers as it prepares to encourage individuals in 10 states to sign up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act's health insurance exchanges beginning Oct. 1, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/12).
The not-for-profit initially launched its ACA-awareness campaign seven weeks ago in order to help uninsured individuals learn about how the law will help them obtain coverage (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 8/12). Enroll America President Anne Filipic said the group now is focused on 10 states where there are large uninsured populations and where -- due to limited state promotion -- the group can make a significant difference.
The states include:
- New Jersey;
- North Carolina;
- Pennsylvania; and
Nine of the selected states have Republican governors, none of them have established their own health insurance exchanges -- although two have partnered with the federal government -- and only a few have decided to expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/12).
Enroll America's Strategy
During a telephone briefing with reporters, Filipic outlined some of Enroll America's goals and timelines for reaching uninsured populations, as well as they metrics they are using to measure success (CQ HealthBeat, 8/12). She emphasized that the outreach "is not a conversation about politics," but about what the ACA means "to you, to your family, to your pocketbook."
For the next stage of the campaign, Enroll America has enlisted about 3,000 volunteers across the 10 targeted states. According to John Gilbert, national field director for the group, Enroll America aims to ramp up contact with uninsured individuals in September by targeting back-to-school events and various local areas -- such as farmers' markets, barbershops and community centers -- to meet people "where they are" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/12).
Enroll America also is using social media to reach young uninsured individuals. Filipic noted that the group has had Twitter conversations with groups such as Moms Rising and Planned Parenthood to discuss the law and intends to have similar discussions with "Latino, African-American and youth audiences in the coming months" (CQ HealthBeat, 8/12).
However, officials cautioned that health coverage is a complicated, personal issue that will require multiple contacts with uninsured people before they sign up for coverage ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 8/12). "As we've built our goals, we're much more focused on the recognition that for an individual who goes from a place where they're likely unaware of the opportunities coming in the fall to a place where they are happily enrolled in coverage, there are going to be many steps along the way," she said, adding that the group's metrics would be focused on "how many house parties do we need to be having, how many community leaders do we want to get engaged in this effort" (CQ HealthBeat, 8/12).
According to the AP/Sacramento Bee, Enroll America's outreach efforts in Florida might be hindered by a lack of information about how much coverage will cost through the federally run exchanges. The federal government has not yet released how much premiums, copayments and deductibles will cost, and state officials have predicted that premiums for small businesses and individuals likely will increase.
However, Enroll America said its volunteers will focus on distributing information about the process and steer conversations away from price concerns with generalized phrases, such as how individuals might be eligible for subsidies to help ameliorate the cost (Kennedy, AP/Sacramento Bee, 8/12).