Open enrollment 2016: Best practices and lessons learned [Special Report]


By Leslie Small

The Affordable Care Act and Medicare open enrollment periods present a critical opportunity for health insurers.

The nationwide push to sign consumers up for ACA plans is the perfect time for payers to educate consumers, showcase new products and reach previously untapped customer bases.

The Department of Health and Human Services, meanwhile, set a modest goal of signing up 10 million for public exchange coverage by the end of 2015, a benchmark it has already exceeded. As of the Dec. 26 deadline to receive coverage starting Jan. 1, 11.3 million customers selected coverage on the federal and state-based marketplaces

Significant challenges remain, though, for ACA coverage outreach efforts from both the private and public sectors. While the penalty for avoiding coverage increases sharply in 2016, for some it's still cheaper or preferable to pay the fine and remain uninsured. And key enrollment demographics--such as minority groups, low-income individuals and young people--remain an elusive quarry despite significant progress in reducing uninsured rates.

To engage with these consumers in an increasingly consumer-centric healthcare landscape, insurers and other organizations have a wealth of strategies at their disposal. But what works best? To find out, FierceHealthPayer spoke with industry experts and outreach organizations--all of which have been on the ground during this open enrollment period--to identify the best practices.