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Open Enrollment Toolkit

This toolkit provides proven strategies and templates for use in outreach to media and your community in order to raise awareness about Open Enrollment and drive traffic to HealthCare.gov, assisters, navigators, and brokers, and community enrollment events.

Open Enrollment Overview

What to Know about the Uninsured

Where are the Uninsured

How Can I Help Get America Covered?

Facts about Open Enrollment

Messaging Memo: Hart Research

Key Messaging: Uninsured

Key Messaging: Currently Insured

Frequently Asked Questions

Example Event Advisory

Best practices - Email

Social Media Resources

Coalition Leads


Open Enrollment Overview

Open Enrollment is the time each year when you can sign up for health insurance if you don’t already have coverage through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, or another sort of health coverage. The majority of states are on the federal exchange and use HealthCare.gov, which means individuals must sign up between November 1st and December 15th for coverage starting on January 1, 2019.  NOTE: The other 12 states have their own exchanges and some have different deadlines (see Facts about Open Enrollment).

The challenge is even greater year. Like last year, there is a very short window to sign up for coverage and the administration continues to make it harder for people to get the information they need to get and stay covered. In-person assistance funding has been cut by an additional 70%. Advertising will be limited. The administration also has taken actions to undermine the marketplace—repealing the mandate and creating short term junk plans. On top of all of that, the 2018 elections run until November 6 meaning a lot less media attention on Open Enrollment.

That means it’s up to all of us to get the facts out. Here’s what we need people to know:  You must take action to sign up for coverage by December 15 for 2019 coverage, and because of financial help, most people can find a plan for $50 to $100 per month. In fact, last year, more people than ever before will be able to find plans with $0 monthly premiums.

There is a lot of confusion that we need to cut through. The best way to do that is to talk about the facts. For the uninsured, that means making sure people know that coverage is more affordable than they think. For those who already have coverage through HealthCare.gov, they need to know that they should come back and shop because plans and prices change every year and there might be a more affordable plan that meets their needs.

When thinking about your outreach, it’s important to keep in mind how people make decisions and when:

By spreading the word, we can cut through the confusion and make sure people have the information they need to choose a plan that works for them.

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What to Know about the Uninsured

The uninsured come from a diverse set of backgrounds. While some have a lot of experience with health insurance, many have limited or no experience. Many of the uninsured are going through some sort of life change, whether that is losing a job, changes in income, or a death in the family so health insurance isn’t a top priority - although they do understand the importance of having it.

Here’s are some key insights about how to communicate with the uninsured:


It’s important to make sure people have the factsmost people who are uninsured don’t know that Open Enrollment starts on November 1 and don’t know that financial help is available to make coverage more affordable. The best thing you can do to counteract the confusion is to get the facts out: Make sure the uninsured know that they can purchase affordable coverage during Open Enrollment from November 1 to December 15 and that 8 out 10 people qualify for financial help lowering monthly premiums to between $50 and $100.

Where are the Uninsured 

People who are uninsured and eligible for ACA marketplace coverage are typically concentrated in specific geographic areas. Based on the best data available, the top markets have remained relatively stable over the last 5 years.

Taking into account the number of eligible uninsured, the share of the population who qualify for tax credits, the amount of financial help the population is eligible for, past enrollment performance, etc. helps us identify those media markets (Nielsen Designated Market Areas) where there are a larger number of people who are uninsured.

Texas and Florida continue to contain a disproportionate share of the QHP eligible uninsured population of Federal Marketplace states. The top 5 media markets are: Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and Tampa. Here are the top 30 markets:

Rank

OE6 Top Markets

Rank

OE6 Top Markets

1

Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

16

San Antonio

2

Dallas-Ft. Worth

17

Greenville-Spartanburg

3

Atlanta

18

Jacksonville

4

Houston

19

Nashville

5

Tampa-St. Petersburg

20

Ft. Myers-Naples

6

Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourn

21

Detroit

7

Northern New Jersey

22

St. Louis

8

Chicago*

23

Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem

9

Philadelphia

24

Portland, OR*

10

Charlotte

25

Austin

11

Salt Lake City

26

Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen

12

Northern Virginia

27

Kansas City

13

West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce

28

Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News

14

Raleigh-Durham

29

Mobile-Pensacola

15

Phoenix (Prescott)

30

Milwaukee

* SBM using the FFM Platform

How To Help Get America Covered?

Open Enrollment starts on November 1, and people must sign up by December 15 to have insurance in 2019 in any state that uses the federal marketplace. The administration is doing less and less—making it even more difficult for people to learn about Open Enrollment and to get the help they need to sign up for coverage.

The good news: everyone can pitch in and help. Doesn’t matter if you’re a business or a mayor or someone who just wants to make sure their friends and neighbors are ready to sign up. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Have an Email List? Alert your friends, members, customers or constituents about Open Enrollment to make sure they know now is the time to sign up. Be sure to include links to HealthCare.gov and details about deadlines for signing up in your email message. Find more help for crafting the right email see Best Practices-Email.
  2. Spread the Word in Your Community. Since the administration slashed its advertising budget, we need to make sure that people know that Open Enrollment for most states runs from Nov 1 to Dec 15. Grab your friends, print out materials and hit the streets. Go out in your community - visit your local library, talk to small business owners, reach out to your pharmacist, head down to your favorite coffee shop, visit with your faith leader - and see who is willing to put up a poster or hand out brochures. Find materials here.
  3. Include Information in Any Print Communication: Include information about Open Enrollment in printed communications that are received by your members, customers, or employees. (For example: receipts, paycheck stubs, church bulletins, membership letters, program applications, etc.)
  4. Share key facts on Facebook and Twitter. The easiest thing you can do is to use your social media accounts to spread the word about Open Enrollment. Find graphics here to include in your Facebook or Twitter posts. Need an idea for what you should post? Check out Get America Covered’s Tweets and Facebook posts.

Sample Tweet: Need health insurance? Time to #GetCovered at HealthCare.gov. There’s not much time so go ahead and sign up now!

If we’re going to make sure that people know about Open Enrollment and that most people qualify for financial help, it will take all of us joining in to make it happen.

Facts about Open Enrollment

Here’s a cheat sheet with the key facts you need to know about Open Enrollment:

  1. HealthCare.gov Deadlines: For the 39 states using HealthCare.gov, Open Enrollment begins on November 1 and ends on December 15. December 15th is the FINAL deadline to enroll for 2019. If you miss this deadline, the only way to get coverage in 2019 is to have a qualifying life event.
  2. Non-HealthCare.gov State Deadlines: Here’s a rundown of the states with their own exchanges, websites and in most instances extended deadlines:

State

State Based Marketplace

Deadline for 2018 Coverage

California

Covered California

January 15, 2019

Colorado

Connect for Health Colorado

January 15, 2019

Connecticut

Access Health CT

December 15, 2018

District of Columbia

DC Health Link

January 31, 2019

Idaho

Your Health Idaho

December 15, 2018

Maryland

Maryland Health Connection

December 15, 2018

Massachusetts

Health Connector

January 23, 2019

Minnesota

MNSure

January 13, 2019

New York

NY State of Health

January 31, 2019

Rhode Island

Health Source RI

December 31, 2018

Vermont

Vermont Health Connect

December 15, 2018

Washington

Washington Health Plan Finder

December 15, 2019

  1. Affordable Options: Eight out 10 people qualify for financial help so most people can find plans with premiums between $50-$100 per month. Last year, 4.5 million people were able to choose plans with $0 premiums.
  2. Renewing Coverage: If you already have coverage, Open Enrollment is the time to compare your options. Plans, prices and financial assistance change every year and most people can save money by actively renewing their coverage.
  3. 24/7 Call Center: To enroll or get assistance, people can call the Marketplace call center 24/7 (except Thanksgiving) during Open Enrollment at 1(800) 318-2596 and talk to a trained enrollment specialist.
  4. In-person assistance: Confidential, unbiased in-person assistance is available - you can make an appointment here. You can talk through your family’s individual situation with a trained enrollment specialist, agent or broker.
  5. Plan Types: Depending on which type of plan you choose - Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum - you’ll pay a different percentage of total yearly costs for your care, and your insurance company will pay the rest. Bronze has the highest out-of-pocket costs, but the lowest monthly premiums. Silver is the only plan that qualifies for financial help to lower your out-of-pocket costs - what you pay for your deductible. Platinum plans have the least out-of-pocket costs, but the highest monthly premiums.
  6. Lower your out-of-pocket costs: In addition to financial help that lowers premiums each month, many people also qualify for lower out-of-pockets costs through Cost Sharing Reductions. You must choose a silver plan to get these savings. Qualifying for these savings depends on your income - see if you qualify here.
  7. 10 Essential Health Benefits: All health plans offered at HealthCare.gov must cover these basic health services:


Key Messaging: Uninsured 

Based on years of consumer research, we know that there is certain information that drives people to take action. Below are the key points that people who are uninsured need to know. Remember: for it to sink in, people will need to hear these same points multiple times.

  1. Starting on November 1 you can sign up for affordable coverage at HealthCare.gov. Open Enrollment for 2019 coverage at HealthCare.gov starts November 1.

  1. December 15 is your last chance to enroll for 2019 coverage. Beat the rush and sign up early.

  1. Coverage could be more affordable than you think. Last year, more than 8 in 10 people qualified for financial help—for most people, that meant they could find premiums between $50 and $100 per month. This year many can find a health plan with a monthly premium of $0. You should definitely check out your options and see if you could save even more on your out of pocket costs by choosing a silver plan.

  1. HealthCare.gov offers coverage you can count on. Only at HealthCare.gov or a state based marketplace will you know that your plan offers comprehensive coverage that will be there when you need it the most—because it’s legally required. You can’t be denied care or have to pay more because of a pre-existing condition. HealthCare.gov plans cover everything from your prescription drugs and check-ups to maternity coverage and hospitalizations.

  1. Signing up for coverage is easy.  You can even apply on your phone. It only takes about 10 minutes to submit an application.

  1. Free, expert help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a call or click away.


Key Messaging: Currently Insured

During Open Enrollment, consumers with 2018 Marketplace plans should come back to update their information and renew their coverage for 2019. Based on consumer research, we know that there is certain information that drives people to take action.

 

  1. Plans and prices change every year. Make sure you’re signed up for the plan that best fits your budget and health needs.

  1. Did your job, family, or health status change? You should come back to HealthCare.gov to shop and make sure you’re enrolled in right plan.

  1. It pays to shop. Even if none of your information has changed, you may still be able to get a better deal. Marketplace consumers have the option to switch plans annually. This means that during Open Enrollment you can check to see if there is a plan offered this year that saves you more money, offers you more services, or includes more doctors.

  1. You must take action by December 15. If you want updates to your coverage, you must make changes is December 15. Come back, update your info and make sure you have the best plan to meet your health and budget needs.

  1. It’s easy to renew. It will only take a few minutes to update your application, review your options, and select a plan.

  1. Financial help is available. 8 out of 10 people who enrolled in health coverage through HealthCare.gov qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. Most people can find plans available for less than $75 dollars.

  1. Free, expert help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a call or click away.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is HealthCare.gov?

Why is it important to get covered?

 

Who can enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov?

How can people enroll in coverage?

 

When does Open Enrollment begin? What’s the deadline to sign up?

 

How many people have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act so far?

 How can consumers get help if they have questions?

Is it true that people will have to pay a fee if they don’t have health insurance in 2018?

What is covered by a plan on HealthCare.gov?

Are short term plans better for people on a budget?

Why should people sign up if there is no longer a penalty for being uninsured?


Example Event Advisory

HealthCare.gov Enrollment Specialists Are Ready

to Help You Sign Up for Health Coverage

There’s not much time before the final December 15 deadline to get health coverage at HealthCare.gov. It’s more important than ever that people understand their options and get the help they need to get covered and stay covered. Professionally trained HealthCare.gov [Assisters/Navigators] will be hosting a health insurance enrollment event on [Day(s), Date] to help people in [City/Community Name] sign up for affordable, quality health coverage.

At the event, individuals and families can meet for free with trained enrollment specialists to review coverage options, find out if they qualify for financial assistance, and sign up or re-enroll in a plan that meets their needs.

WHO:           [Insert special guests and note navigators/assisters will be on hand]

WHAT:          Enrollment event to help people in [City/Community name] learn about their options.

WHEN:        [Insert day, date, time]

WHERE:        [Insert location details]

5 Facts About Signing Up For Coverage at HealthCare.gov:

#1: Sign up by December 15. Open Enrollment started on November 1 but you must take action by December 15, no matter if this is your first time getting covered or if you are returning to shop and save. Beat the rush and sign up early.

#2: Coverage could be cheaper than you think. Last year, 8 in 10 people qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. In fact, most people found plans available between $50 to $100 per month.

#3: Shop and save. If you had coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2018, you should come back to update your information and compare your options for 2019. Every year, plans and prices change, you could save money by switching to a new plan that still meets your needs. 

#4: Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a call or quick away. Call 1-800-318-2596, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now.

#5: HealthCare.gov offers coverage you can count on. Only at HealthCare.gov or a state based marketplace will you know that your plan offers comprehensive coverage that will be there when you need it the most. You can’t be denied care because of a pre-existing condition or have to pay more. HealthCare.gov plans cover everything from your prescription drugs and check-ups to maternity coverage and hospitalizations.

Best practices—Email

One of the most effective ways to help encourage Americans to get covered during Open Enrollment is to send emails that gets the facts to people who may need health insurance.

 

Top Tips for Writing Emails

 

  1. Remind people that getting covered might not be as expensive as they think: Many people who gain coverage through HealthCare.gov are often surprised by how much they can save. Use email to remind people that most who sign-up receive financial help that lowers the cost of their monthly premiums. Remember to simplify statistics as much as possible (e.g. 8 out of 10 people).

Language to get you started:

 

  1.  Emphasize the deadline: This could well be the most incentivizing point, so make sure to include it! If people miss the deadline, they’ll likely have to wait another year to get covered.

Language to get you started:

  1. Remind people that getting covered is easy and won’t take a long as they think: Point out the fact that there are free tools and free personal assistance available to help make signing up easier than ever.

Language to get you started:

 

  1. Let people know other people are enrolling: People are more likely to enroll if they know others are enrolling too. Any language that leans into the idea that other people are getting covered, and they’re doing it right now is helpful.

Language to get you started:

SAMPLE EMAIL

Subject Line: Need Health Insurance? Time is running out!

[First Name],

If you - or someone you know - needs health insurance, the time to act is now:

Visit HealthCare.gov right now to enroll in coverage.

[Insert a red “APPLY” button with a link to HealthCare.gov.

Here are a few fast facts about getting covered through HealthCare.gov.

Don’t miss your chance to get covered and tell your friends why they should, too!


Social Media Resources

The easiest thing you can do is to use your social media accounts to get the facts out about Open Enrollment. Find graphics here to include in your Facebook or Twitter posts. We even have city-specific graphics for places with the most affordable plans! Need an idea for what you should post?

Key dates

Hashtags

Drive people to HealthCare.gov: It’s important to drive people to HealthCare.gov to start enrolling in a 2019 health plan.

Download Graphics

Twitter

gacSocial_oct30.jpg                   

Facebook

gacSocial_1.jpg

General Messages

Final December 15 Deadline for 2019 Coverage

Affordability

Shop and Save

Local Help is Available

You’ve Got Options

Easy to Sign Up

Young and Healthy

Self-Employed/Entrepreneurs

Rural America

Local Resources

Below are local organizations who are helping get the word out in states. We encourage you to connect directly with your state coalition to get involved!

State

Coalition//Lead Navigator

Website

Alabama

Enroll Alabama

http://enrollala.com/

Alaska

Get Covered Alaska

http://getcoveredalaska.org/

Arizona

Cover AZ

http://coveraz.org/

Arkansas

My Arkansas Insurance

http://myarinsurance.com/

Delaware

Choose Health Delaware

http://www.choosehealthde.com/

Florida

Covering Florida

http://www.coveringflorida.org/

Georgia

Insure Georgia

http://www.insurega.org

Hawaii

***

***

Illinois

Illinois Coalition for Health Access

http://www.ilcha.org/ 

Indiana

ASPIN Health Navigator

http://aspinhealthnavigator.org/

Iowa

Iowa Primary Care Association

http://www.iowapca.org/?page=112

Kansas

Cover Kansas

http://www.coverks.org/

Kentucky

***

***

Louisiana

Navigators for a Healthy Louisiana

http://lahealthcarenav.com/

Maine

Enroll 207

http://www.enroll207.com/

Michigan

Enroll Michigan

http://enrollmichigan.com/

Mississippi

Get Covered Mississippi

http://getcoveredms.org/

Missouri

Cover Missouri

http://covermissouri.org/

Montana

Cover Montana

http://covermt.org/

Nebraska

Enroll Nebraska

http://enroll-ne.org/

Nevada

Nevada Health Link

www.nevadahealthlink.com/

New Hampshire

Covering New Hampshire

https://coveringnewhampshire.org/

New Jersey

Cover NJ

http://www.covernj.org/

New Mexico

Be Well NM

https://www.bewellnm.com/

North Carolina

NC Get Covered

https://www.ncgetcovered.org/

North Dakota

Get Covered North Dakota

http://www.getcoverednorthdakota.org/

Ohio

***

***

Oklahoma

***

***

Oregon

Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace

http://healthcare.oregon.gov/marketplace/Pages/index.aspx

Pennsylvania

Consumer Health Coalition

Pennsylvania Health Access Network

http://consumerhealthcoalition.org/

http://pahealthaccess.org/

South Carolina

Signup SC

http://signupsc.palmettoproject.org/

South Dakota

Get Covered South Dakota

http://www.getcoveredsouthdakota.org/

Tennessee

Get Covered Tenn

http://www.getcoveredtenn.org/

Texas

Cover Texas Now

http://www.covertexasnow.org/

Utah

Take Care Utah

https://takecareutah.org/

Virginia

Enroll Virginia

http://www.enrollva.org/

West Virginia

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care

http://www.wvahc.org/

Wisconsin

Covering Wisconsin

http://www.coveringwi.org/

Wyoming

Enroll Wyoming

https://www.facebook.com/enrollwyo/