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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

#Enrollment365: Assisters Are Busy Year Round

Kyrstin Racine

Enrollment Intern

While the few months of open enrollment are typically what most people think of when they think about marketplace health coverage, the truth is that enrollment happens all year long. Between helping consumers sign up for coverage when they experience certain life changes, enrolling people in Medicaid, and trying to educate the public about the Affordable Care Act, enrollment assisters are busy 365 days a year. 

That’s why we’ve launched the hashtag #Enrollment365, to bring attention to the fact that assisters are needed not just during open enrollment. But all year long.

Enrollment assisters who attend Health Action 2016, our annual conference in early February, will hear about best practices to help them be effective year-round. View the agenda for a sample of the enrollment-related workshops.

Why enrollment assisters are busy all year

Here are just a few of the ways that navigators and assisters help consumers throughout the year:

  1. Sign-ups outside of open enrollment: Life changes don’t always line up with open enrollment, so the health care law allows for special enrollment periods, or SEPs. Examples of events in a person’s life that may qualify him or her for a special enrollment period include marriage or divorce, birth of a baby, and job loss. 
  2. Enrolling consumers in Medicaid and CHIP: Enrollment in these programs is open all year long
  3. Post-enrollment counseling: After enrolling in a health plan, many consumers still have questions about how to use their coverage, or when to report changes to the marketplace. Following up with people who already have coverage is a critical component of assister services and extends beyond open enrollment.
  4. Developing partnerships: Building bridges with local organizations is essential to the work of enrollment assisters. Partnering with local libraries, medical providers, and other trusted groups helps assisters identify and work with more consumers. 
  5. Spreading the word about ACA insurance: Raising awareness about the ACA is a year-round effort and should start before open enrollment begins. While the ACA has made great progress in extending health coverage to nearly 17 million Americans, there are millions who remain not only uninsured but unfamiliar with the health care law. This is why conducting outreach and public education activities before open enrollment begins is so important.

Help us promote our new hashtag #Enrollment365

Using #Enrollment365 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram helps to highlight how enrollment work is all year. Families USA will be using the hashtag to share enrollment workshop highlights. 

In the meantime, use this sample tweet to help us raise awareness of the importance of enrollment assisters:

Helping consumers get health coverage is a year-round job. #Enrollment365