The remaining uninsured have lingering concerns about health insurance affordability, and many are unaware of their state’s Marketplace and upcoming opportunities to enroll. That’s according to a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sponsored study about barriers and motivations of the uninsured to enrolling in health insurance during the ACA’s second enrollment period. The study, conducted by PerryUndem Research/Communication and GMMB, involved a national survey of 1,259 uninsured consumers and 10 focus groups in six cities: Chicago, Cleveland, Las Vegas, Miami, Phoenix, and Teaneck, NJ.
Key findings highlight the need for more outreach to the uninsured during the upcoming open enrollment period, which starts on November 15. For example, more than half of the uninsured did not look into enrolling during the last open enrollment period. And, one in four was unaware of the federal or their state’s marketplace. Additionally, 58% of the uninsured have financial debt, and affordability of health insurance continues to be a top concern.
The good news is, nearly three in four want health coverage: 72% agreed with the statement: “Having health insurance would make my life better.” In light of these findings, the researchers recommend the following when it comes to messaging to the uninsured:
Speak to barriers. Emphasize that low-cost plans and financial help are available and people can get in-person help to apply.
Encourage people to check out their options. Many of the uninsured did not look at the Marketplace last year. Those who did could still find different options this year.
Talk about the fine. Give the facts about the fine and how it will increase in 2015 and 2016. This gives an extra “push” to those already thinking about enrolling.
Use peer networks to get out the word. People want to know that it’s possible to get good coverage and financial help to afford it and it helps to hear this from someone they trust.
These messaging strategies can help those doing outreach to the remaining uninsured in New York State. New York enrolled over 1.5 million people in the first year of the NY State of Health Marketplace, but we still have work to do to ensure all New Yorkers are covered. Getting the word out – and using the right messages to do so – will be key to making sure the second open enrollment period is a success.
View the full RWJF report here.