Providing Outreach and Enrollment Assistance: Lessons Learned from Community Health Centers in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts experience points to the importance of several of the ACA’s most far-reaching reforms, including a single, streamlined application form for all subsidy programs, simplified documentation requirements, passive renewal, and investment in outreach and enrollment assistance. But it also reveals the vital role of in-person help to navigate what remains a new and unfamiliar process for many and an important process for all. Broad public education about affordable insurance options and how to enroll is essential to the success of the ACA’s expansion of coverage. In addition, for medically underserved populations and communities disadvantaged by poverty and other hardships – who stand to benefit most from coverage – one-on-one assistance is a crucial complement. The intensive support they require, and ongoing rather than occasional needs for assistance, suggest the importance of sustained investment in outreach and enrollment efforts conducted by health centers as well as other organizations.
This brief was prepared by Sara Rosenbaum, Peter Shin, Jessica Sharac, Carmen Alvarez, Julia Zur, and Leighton Ku of The George Washington University, and Julia Paradise of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Additional support for this issue brief was provided by the RCHN Community Health Foundation