Agencies look ahead to next ACA enrollment

Open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace ended at midnight Monday, and the White House announced Tuesday that sign-ups exceeded the administration’s goal of 7 million.

Jean Leonatti, chief executive officer of the Central Missouri Area Agency on Aging (CMAAA), said she’s pleased with how enrollment went in Missouri.

“I think the numbers will show the huge need for affordable health insurance,” she said.

The agency received a federal grant to train people as navigators to help Missourians enroll in coverage.

Leonatti said she will tally in the coming weeks how many Missourians CMAAA helped enroll in the marketplace.

“We had a pretty busy week last week and yesterday (Monday),” she said. “Yesterday we even had three families who weren’t able to get all the way through the application to complete enrollment. We’ll help them enroll later this week.”

While many agencies are trying to wrap up 2014 marketplace enrollment, others are already looking to next year’s enrollment period, which begins Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15, 2015.

Families USA — a national organization for health care consumers — released Tuesday 10 recommendations to improve outreach and enrollment for 2015.

“Our recommendations today are built on the

laudatory success of the first enrollment period, and if they are acted on well before the start of the next enrollment period, that success will be sustained and significantly strengthened,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.

Among the agency’s 10 recommendations is one to increase the number of resources available for navigators — those who help people enroll in coverage. Another recommendation is to build a substantial, sustained education campaign about the tax credit subsidies available for some consumers to purchase plans in the marketplace.

Rachel Klein, enrollment program director for Families USA, said the agency also recommends making the application available in more languages than English and Spanish.

“Right now, there are tools people can use if they speak languages other than English or Spanish as a first language to help them complete the application, but they can’t actually submit the application in any language other than English and Spanish,” Klein said. “This serves as a barrier for many people who don’t speak either of those languages. It also means in immigrant communities there is a huge need for in-person enrollment assistance.”

For a list of the additional recommendations, visit www.familiesusa.org.

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