Obamacare changes: Many won't find out until it's too late
September 15, 2017 12:30 PM   Subscribe

With the advertising budget slashed recently by 90% for the Affordable Care Act, and the enrollment period cut nearly in half, volunteers are using social media and state-by-state grassroots organizing to get out the word about the changes, hoping to go viral with a few key details before enrollment starts on Nov. 1st. There are concerns that vital information, particularly about the change in enrollment closing date (now Dec. 15th in most states, versus Jan. 31st last time around), won't be available widely enough. Some states are targeting barbers, bartenders, and radio shows in hopes of reaching the public. A strongly-worded letter has been sent to the administration.

DT has previously been quoted as follows: "As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan". Removing most of the funding for informational announcements and outreach may well end up having the intended effect, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

A small number of states have their own advertising budget to disseminate the ACA signup information, but the majority of states do not. A former ACA employee says: "Despite our preconceived notion that digital media might deliver the biggest bang for our buck, we found that TV still was the number one driver of enrollment. Not only that, but TV ads acted as a sort of multiplier — magnifying the effects of every dollar spent on digital, email, and everything else. Taken together, we found, paid outreach was directly responsible for about 40 percent of all enrollments." Meanwhile some volunteers are going door-to-door with flyers.
posted by TreeHugger (10 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Given the importance of TV ads (even though, ugh, TV ads), are there PACs or other organizations that are running informational spots that could use financial support? I see Protect Our Care mentioned but I can't tell if that's a tactic that they [will] use .
posted by mosst at 12:36 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]

/me hugs health insurance card.
posted by loquacious at 12:52 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]

Needs a Politics tag.
posted by zabuni at 1:24 PM on September 15 [1 favorite]

posted by indubitable at 1:38 PM on September 15 [11 favorites]

Needs a Politics tag.

I can think of a few other tags it needs, but most of them are a little... impolite.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:12 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]

The most significant change the Trump administration made was cutting off enrollment two weeks early on December 15. A high percentage of enrollment, millions of people, have been in the habit for the last four years of enrolling during the last two weeks of the year. If they don't get the word, they are going to be locked out.

This is intentional sabotage, ruining people's lives.
posted by JackFlash at 2:18 PM on September 15 [17 favorites]

I will be enrolling in an ACA plan starting October and will need to be on it for at least the next year. I'm terrified of what all of this means for the quality of my healthcare over that time. I have family and family friends who I know think this is just all some sort of hypothetical and I don't know what to say to get them to think differently. When I do talk about how it will affect me I get back silence or "well, we obviously want the best for you!" and then... silence.
posted by augustimagination at 8:38 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]

By the way, if you are in a Democratic run state that has its own ACA exchange in place instead of healthcare.gov, you might be in luck. These states are telling the Trump administration to stuff it and are extending their enrollment periods into January, just like last year.

For example, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia will allow enrollment extending to January 14 or January 31, depending on state, at least an additional month.

It pays to have Democratic state officials looking out for your interests.
posted by JackFlash at 10:42 PM on September 15 [7 favorites]

$10 Million is the new ad budget, for the entire country. I posted the basic details on signup to my FB wall, and encouraged my friends to do the same. I'm concerned for the many underprivileged and disenfranchised families who I believe will not get access to the information in time, and will miss the deadline. If I could volunteer for this in person I would, but I'm overseas.
posted by TreeHugger at 12:07 AM on September 16

I've seen loads of articles on various sites complaining (and rightfully so) about this, but none of them ever seem to post the details needed to actually sign up. So here they are: https://www.healthcare.gov/blog/2018-open-enrollment-updates/
posted by mollymillions at 9:49 AM on September 16 [2 favorites]

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