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April 2014

Accelerating the Affordable Care Act’s Enrollment Momentum: 10 Recommendations for Future Enrollment Periods

On March 31, 2014, the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period ended. The next period begins on November 15. And as of March 27, six million consumers signed up for health insurance through the marketplace—a tremendous first step. To build on that momentum, we need to apply action to the lessons that we learned from the first enrollment period. Families USA’s latest report, “Accelerating the Affordable Care Act’s Enrollment Momentum: 10 Recommendations for Future Enrollment Periods” (PDF) identifies 10 key steps that, if implemented promptly and effectively between now and November, can significantly increase the number of people who enroll in health insurance. 

These 10 improvements focus on the enrollment process and on making health insurance more affordable to spur enrollment. Together, these steps would:

  • significantly improve the success of future enrollment efforts
  • not require the enactment of new legislation
  • be able to be implemented by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and/or state marketplaces 
  • improve the quality of the consumer experience in the marketplace
  • further decrease the numbers of uninsured Americans

Highlights: 10 key steps to improving enrollment (summary)

To find out more about how these 10 recommendations should be implemented and how they will improve enrollment, please download our report (PDF).

Steps that will strengthen the enrollment process in the health insurance marketplace

  • Increase the number of, and resources for, enrollment navigators and assisters. (visit our Enrollment Assister Resource Center
  • Build a sustained and comprehensive public-private sector public awareness campaign around the availability of premium tax credits. (see related infographic)
  • Coordinate enrollment periods with the tax filing season.
  • Continue streamlined Medicaid enrollment for people who are already enrolled in other public benefit programs. (see related factsheet)
  • Create applications in multiple languages (beyond English and Spanish.)
  • Strengthen coordination among the marketplaces and Medicaid to prevent applications from being lost or unduly delayed.
  • Fix the roadblocks that prevent people from completing their applications.

Steps that will make health insurance affordable to more people

  • Ban health plans from continuing to impose premium surcharges  that make insurance unaffordable for people who use tobacco. (see related issue briefs)
  • Ensure that marketplaces offer low-deductible silver plans to those with very low incomes.
  • Exclude health plans that set unacceptably high health insurance premiums. (see related issue brief on state best practices)