By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The event is not until November, but campaigning is already underway. No, it isn’t the election — it’s the next open enrollment period in the Affordable Care Act.
The first enrollment period reduced the number of uninsured in Philadelphia by 27-percent. Advocates want the number to shrink even more in the second go-round, so outreach workers like Neil Rickett are starting now, even going door-to-door to find the uninsured.
“I work with Enroll America. We do education and outreach for the affordable care act,” he tells a neighbor on the Kensington street that he targeted for a recent canvas. “Got a few minutes, I could talk to you about health insurance?”
Rickett has been getting a warm reception. Even those who already have insurance often have questions or ask for information to pass on to friends.
If he finds someone who isn’t insured but may be eligible for subsidized coverage through the Affordable Care Act, he takes their contact information for follow-up.
“Our research shows that people are 25-percent are more likely to enroll if you make at least three contacts with them,” he explains. “When we get to the open enrollment period in November, we’ll have a targeted list of people that have already stated interest in getting enrolled and we’ll be able to get them to enrollment events in their neighborhoods.”
He’s also looking for people who may be eligible for coverage right now, due to a life event such as marriage, divorce, unemployment or the birth of a child.
Alexandra was in the category. A month away from her 26th birthday, she was about to lose coverage through her parents’ policy. Rickett took her information and offered Enroll America’s help in shopping the marketplace.
“We’re just looking to make sure everybody get’s covered,” Rickett told her.
Rickett concedes that knocking on doors is a labor intensive way to reach the uninsured. He still thinks it’s worth it.
“It’s a really high-intensity type of canvas,” he says. “We may not reach as many people as we want to but we find that we have a really high success rate with the people we do get in touch with.”
Rickett says he’ll keep at it till the next enrollment period ends next February.
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