Monday, December 01, 2014

This is how you let people know what the ACA has to offer

According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 53% of the uninsured don't know that the ACA provides financial help to low and moderate-income Americans to help them get insured. Last year, visiting or state exchanges didn't always alleviate the ignorance. An April 2014 McKinsey & Co. survey found that two thirds of subsidy-eligible respondents who visited the federal exchange,  remained uninsured and cited unaffordability as the reason did not know that they were eligible for subsidies.

I've asked before how so many visitors to could come away not knowing that their coverage would be subsidized. One answer: most did not find their way to the shop-around feature, which enables a user to enter a handful of data points (home location, household members with ages, and household income) and get plan price quotes with the subsidy included (or a notice that the user is likely eligible for Medicaid).  The shop-around was not functional until December 2013 -- and from that point on,while it wasn't exactly buried, it was hiding in plain site among several other potential starting points on the home page.

This year it's different. The shop-around itself is streamlined a bit -- but more important, the home page steers users to it. "See plans and prices" is one of just two prominent options on the home page -- the one on the left, where reading starts.  If you pick the other -- "get started" -- you're prompted for your home state, after which you're again presented with a binary choice: see plans and prices, or apply now. "See plans and prices" is a bigger button.

In the same vein, email encouraging shop-around is pushed out to those who have created logins but have not enrolled in a health plan, either last open season or for 2015. I created a login last year, though I get my insurance elsewhere. This afternoon I received an email that looks like this:

View in browser | This newsletter created and distributed by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Marketplace header

Cyber Monday: Shop for health plans today

This Cyber Monday, don’t forget to shop for health plans on Getting covered may be cheaper than you think and you could be eligible for lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Shop for plans
Take charge of your health care this holiday season. You’re on your way to the best gift of all – peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
Remember: Act by December 15 and your new coverage can start as soon as January 1
The Team  

That big fat button leads straight to the shoparound, which begins with a zip code prompt. If you enter the requested info, you can get subsidy-inclusive price quotes within 30 seconds. That should give some uninsured people at least an understanding that "the government will help pay for coverage for low and moderate income Americans."

Now, if only the shop-around would default results to silver for those eligible for Cost Sharing Reduction.  Calling Kevin Counihan....

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