New Report Documents Lessons and Practices for Enrolling Diverse Communities in the Health Insurance Marketplace

The San Francisco Foundation is deeply committed to addressing health inequities and ensuring that low income and communities of color have access to affordable healthcare by enrolling in health insurance programs.

That’s why in 2013, we funded the Texas Health Institute to research and publish, Marketplace Consumer Assistance Programs and Promising Practices for Enrolling Racially and Ethnically Diverse Communities, a first-of-its- kind review describing marketplace consumer assistance experiences, lessons learned, and promising practices from California and other communities across the country on implementing related provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

We’re excited to share this latest report with our stakeholders as we plan for the next open enrollment period starting November 15, 2014.

The report focuses on one of the services central to the success of state marketplaces—navigator and in-person assister programs to educate and enroll racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse populations.

Based on a review of peer-reviewed publications, federal regulations, state-based reports on enrollment, and key informant interviews, the report features profiles and experiences around navigator and assister program structure and funding, community engagement, training, communication, outreach and enrollment activities, and data and evaluation.

Drawing from these resources the report provides timely guidance and identifies six recommendations to improve future outreach and enrollment, especially for more hard-to-reach populations:

  • Building capacity to reach and enroll limited English proficient populations;
  • More fully engaging and involving diverse communities;
  • Assuring long-term sustainability of outreach and enrollment programs;
  • Monitoring disparities and enrollment data by race, ethnicity, and language;
  • Enhancing training programs to include more race, culture, and language relevant scenarios, role-playing, and resources; and
  • Encouraging sharing of lessons and best practices locally and regionally.

While the practices and lessons discussed focus on California and the San Francisco Bay Area, the report offers practices and lessons learned that can be broadly applied to other states and players working to educate and enroll diverse populations across the country.

In the months leading up to the next round of enrollment, we hope that this resource will be shared and utilized, and we will continue to build on these findings to support strategies and opportunities for programs in the region to ensure everyone has access to vital health services in our community.