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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Best of 2014: Picks to Improve Health Literacy and Open Enrollment Messaging

Jessica Kendall

Director of State Partnerships

We asked our policy experts to share their picks for 2014’s must-read—or, in some cases, must-see—articles, reports, videos, and more. See more “best of” lists from our teams working on health system transformation and marketplace health insurance.

For all of us working to ensure that consumers get enrolled and stay enrolled in affordable, accessible, quality health insurance plans, it’s often easy to get lost in the policy of it all. Here at Families USA, we strive to identify ways to translate the policies and procedures that are essential to the enrollment process into a language that makes sense to consumers. As the second open enrollment comes to a close in early 2015, increasing health literacy remains a priority.  

The best enrollment resources for helping consumers get health coverage are universal, easily digestible, and straight to the point 

There have been dozens of briefs and reports that have emerged over this last year that have been invaluable to making sure that advocates around the country are working in the best interest of consumers. But the ones that most resonate with me are not the in-depth policy analyses that are essential to maintaining and improving the Affordable Care Act for consumers. Instead, for the most part, they are pieces that make it easier for all of us to help consumers get enrolled and stay enrolled in coverage. In 2015, educating consumers about how to sign up for and use their health coverage will remain imperative. 

It doesn’t matter how good the health care law is if we can’t talk about it. In working with Enroll America, PerryUndem did a great job synthesizing the best ways to talk with consumers about their options.

Survey of assister programs in health insurance marketplace underscores their vital role in enrolling consumers

I’m often asked to present about navigators’ roles to organizations that either may not be familiar with the importance of assisters, or may want to know more. The Kaiser Family Foundation produced my go-to guide anytime I present. I work with enrollment assisters on a daily basis, but this is the best resource for me to source for larger trends, facts, stats, and overall needs of enrollment assisters. In 2015, we will continue to work with and learn from our assisters on the ground. 

For people in federally facilitated marketplace states, finding answers for consumers is often like going down a rabbit hole. Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families did a great job putting together this resource to make it easier to look up frequently asked questions.

What enrollment assisters need to know about talking to the press

It’s hard for me to mention my favorite items of this past year without mentioning this Families USA webinar about working with the media. We discussed timeless questions like: 

  • How do you talk to the press? 
  • How do you prep for that call?

This webinar covers those basic and provides assisters (and anyone else) tips and tricks for giving a successful media interview. In the upcoming year, making sure that assisters know how to talk to the press will remain crucial. As new parts of the ACA take effect, it’s important for assisters to share the right information at the right time, so everyone can be on the same page when it comes to health literacy about the law. 

Humor can be a powerful tool in enrollment outreach to consumers, young invincibles

Lastly, this website from Get Covered Illinois blends humor with facts to explain why getting health insurance is important. Both sides of the political aisle appreciate good humor, and convincing “young invincibles” to sign up for health coverage in the marketplace will be important as open enrollment continues into 2015.