Enroll America to educate Arizonans on the Marketplace health insurance exchange

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Arizona Republic reports today that the "Get The Word Out Weekend" for the marketplace health insurance exchange in Arizona begins in earnest this weekend. Health care reform ramps up in Arizona:

Beginning what will be a years-long effort to enroll Arizonans into
health-insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, hundreds of
volunteers will canvass Phoenix and Tempe neighborhoods this weekend
seeking out some of the state’s 1 million uninsured residents.

Using mapping technology and political-campaign-style organization,
the national non-profit group Enroll America is working with local
health-care and social-service agencies to locate the uninsured, answer
their questions about the federal health-care overhaul and get them
signed up.

Enrollment begins Oct. 1 in Arizona’s expanded Medicaid program and
the online insurance marketplace. Those who enroll by mid-December will
be covered beginning Jan. 1.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to increase the number of
people who have coverage,” said Allen Gjersvig of the Arizona Alliance
for Community Health Centers. “But we know … that huge numbers of
people who are potentially eligible don’t know what’s coming.”

Key challenges for Enroll America and the hundreds of local groups
trying to educate Arizonans are to find the uninsured and then find the
right message, with relatively few resources. The nearly 50 million
uninsured Americans, including 1 million in Arizona, are a diverse group
with widely different health-care needs, from young adults to those
nearing retirement to people with chronic health conditions.

Enroll America is targeting Arizona and nine other states that have
large numbers of uninsured residents, no state-based health exchange and
no state-supported outreach effort. The other states are Florida,
Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio,
Pennsylvania and Texas.

They also chose Arizona because it has a network of community groups
that have cooperated in the past on health-related issues, including
outreach for the KidsCare health-insurance program.

But with just over three weeks until the enrollment launch, and many
of the details about insurance plans and premiums still being finalized,
organizers know they will have to circle back with most people to
remind them. This is where the effort begins to look like a political
campaign.

“We’ll have hundreds of conversations with Arizona consumers about
what the new health-insurance marketplace means for them and their loved
ones,” said Cheryl O’Donnell, state director of Enroll America.

“We want to be sure that once we interact with someone … we can
find them again. We want to be able to reconnect with people and make
sure they know exactly where they can go to get insured.”

On Saturday, volunteers and Enroll America staff will make phone calls and and walk neighborhoods, focusing on areas that U.S. Census Bureau data show have higher numbers of uninsured people.
“Get The Word Out Weekend” is intended to make initial contacts with
people who could be helped by the health-care law and give people
information about how to sign up. Tucson events are planned next week, including phone banks and neighborhood canvassing
.

Among the points the volunteers will cover are eligibility
requirements. People earning less than 133 percent of the federal
poverty level, or $15,282, can qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage.
Those who earn less than four times the poverty level, or up to $46,000,
can receive sliding-scale subsidized coverage through the online
marketplace.

Roughly 150,000 Arizonans have lost health insurance in the past two
years, and an untold number have been unable to sign up since Gov. Jan
Brewer and lawmakers froze a Medicaid program for low-income childless
adults.

* * *

Enroll America has enlisted more than 3,000 volunteers for this
weekend’s canvass. Also taking part are some of the 300-plus Arizona
organizations that make up the Cover Arizona coalition.

The coalition is the key strategy center for the Arizona effort and
has been working closely with national groups to plan outreach,
education and enrollment. Arizona health-care and non-profit groups have
received limited federal grants — $2.1 million to hire health-care
“navigators” and $2.3 million for community health centers to provide
outreach and education statewide.

Visit Enroll America for more information.

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