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Connecting Consumers to Coverage: Lessons Learned from Assisters for Successful Outreach and Enrollment

This brief highlights the experiences of Navigators and other Marketplace consumer assistance programs under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in conducting outreach and providing enrollment assistance during the ACA’s first open enrollment period. It provides insight into the outreach and enrollment strategies the assisters developed and identifies the keys to successfully overcoming the challenges of the first year. These insights are based on findings from focus groups with assisters in four cities: Miami, Florida; Houston, Texas; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Cleveland, Ohio.

Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs

This survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation of Navigators and other Marketplace consumer assistance programs under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) offers a nationwide analysis of the number and distribution of assisters and people they helped. The report examines the experience of programs in conducting outreach and enrollment assistance during the first open enrollment period. It also reviews the nature of help consumers needed applying for Medicaid or premium tax credits and understanding health insurance choices, and discusses key factors that impacted the effectiveness of Marketplace Assister Programs.

National Survey Finds 10.6 Million People Helped By Navigators and Assisters During the Affordable Care Act’s First Open Enrollment Period

An estimated 10.6 million people nationally received personal help from navigators and assisters during the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period, finds a new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of navigators and assister programs nationally. The survey estimates that the 4,400 assister programs operating nationally had an estimated 28,000 full-time staff and volunteers, suggesting each assister would have helped more than 370 people on average during the six-month open enrollment period that ran from October 1 through March 31.

Comparison of Consumer Protections in Three Health Insurance Markets: Medicare Advantage, Qualified Health Plans and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations

This report examines similarities and differences in federal consumer protection standards for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), and Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs). It focuses on rules established at the federal level, though some states have chosen to go above the federal minimums and impose additional requirements for QHPs and Medicaid MCOs.

Surprise Medical Bills

This brief explores the problem of “surprise medical bills” — charges arising when an insured individual inadvertently receives care from an out-of-network provider. It reviews studies on the extent of the issue, including Kaiser Family Foundation polling data, and outlines state and federal policy responses, including rules and proposed rules for Medicare and plans in Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

JAMA Forum: Surprise, Surprise

Larry Levitt’s February 2016 post explains how “surprise medical bills” — unanticipated charges for out-of-network care – can happen. It describes some government approaches to the issue and outlines the challenges to protecting consumers. The post is now available at The JAMA Forum.

The Cost of Cancer

This Kaiser Family Foundation documentary explores the financial consequences faced by three people, all privately insured, after being diagnosed with cancer. It was released in conjunction with a joint Kaiser/American Cancer Society report, “Spending To Survive: Cancer Patients Confront Holes in the Health Insurance System.” To download the video, right-click…

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.