ACA advocates launch open enrollment awareness campaign

Affordable Care Act (ACA) advocates on Wednesday launched a new campaign, called Get America Covered, to encourage U.S. residents, particularly young adults, to enroll in coverage during the upcoming open enrollment period for 2018 coverage set to begin Nov. 1.

The enrollment push comes in the wake of a series of actions by the Trump administration, which ACA advocates say could hinder enrollment efforts. For instance, HHS in April announced it would shorten by six weeks the ACA's open enrollment period for the 2018 coverage year to better align the exchange market with the employer-sponsored health insurance market and Medicare.

CMS in August said it would cut federal funding for ACA open enrollment outreach efforts by 90 percent compared with the last open enrollment period, and last month the agency said it would pull out of state-based open enrollment events organized by navigator groups and take HealthCare.gov offline for scheduled maintenance for about 12 hours on most Sundays during the open enrollment period.

Campaign details

The Get America Covered campaign is headed by two former Obama administration staffers—Joshua Peck and Lori Lodes, both former CMS employees—and will feature a mix of celebrities, health policy experts, and political figures, including actress Alyssa Milano, actor Bradley Whitford, former Molina Healthcare CEO Mario Molina, and former CMS acting administrator Andy Slavitt.

According to Lodes, the campaign will focus on partnering with community organizations, employers, and others to raise awareness ahead of the open enrollment period. The campaign also will feature digital advertising geared toward the uninsured population.

Peck said, "HHS has effectively set the bar so low that we think even a relatively small organization with a small budget may be able to have an impact" (Baker, "Vitals," Axios, 10/4; Thielking, "Morning Rounds," STAT News, 10/4; Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/U.S. News & World Report, 10/4).

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