ACA Outreach Campaigns Encounter Public Misunderstanding
Groups working to promote the Affordable Care Act said Wednesday that they are encountering widespread confusion about the law, just one week before open enrollment launches, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports.
On a phone call with reporters, officials from Families USA, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and other states said that this wide-ranging misunderstanding about the ACA is one of their primary obstacles in spreading awareness about the law's requirements and benefits.
For example, Antoinette Kraus -- director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network -- said that "[t]here is often confusion and misunderstanding based on disinformation campaigns [about the law]. ... The conversations that we have are just making people aware that the law is still here, that they have some obligations and a boatload of opportunities as a result."
Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack said, "We have our work cut out for us," adding, "We are by no means at a point where enough people know about this [law]."
Nonetheless, the promoters still are optimistic about their ACA awareness campaigns, according to "Healthwatch." Officials from other states participating in the call -- including Kentucky, Minnesota and Missouri -- outlined some of their awareness efforts, such as public information drives at sports and community events (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/25).
White House Official Says Enrollment Will Come in 'Ebbs and Flows'
In related news, White House communications adviser David Simas said in an interview on Wednesday that enrollment through the exchanges will come in "ebbs and flows" over the initial six-month open-enrollment period, not a steadily increasing push from the start, Politico reports.
Specifically, he predicted that enrollment would slowly improve from October through December before dropping off in January and February and increasing again in March immediately prior to enrollment closing. "We are looking at Oct. 1 not as the beginning of the six-day or six-week push," he said, adding, "This is six months of raising awareness."
Simas also acknowledged that in a "perfect world with a ton of money for outreach and engagement," the White House likely should have initiated its awareness campaign earlier in order to reach more people prior to open enrollment (Winfield Cunningham, Politico, 9/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.