Getting North Carolina Covered
Recently published data shows that North Carolina ranks fifth among all states in terms of enrollments through both state-based and the federally-facilitated Health Insurance Marketplaces. North Carolina ranks third among states where plans are offered through the federal Marketplace, trailing only behind Texas and Florida, two states with significantly larger populations.
As of February 1, more than 160,000 North Carolinians have enrolled in health insurance plans, with 90 percent of enrollees receiving financial assistance.
Why the success in North Carolina?
As noted in a recent Fayetteville Observer article, despite many obstacles, a group of nonprofits called the North Carolina Navigator Consortium has provided much needed infrastructure, collaboration, and energy to the on-the-ground efforts to enroll North Carolinians.
The Consortium, which includes MDC, has received federal funds to deploy federally-trained and certified “Navigators” who reach, educate, screen, and enroll residents in new health insurance plans. In addition to its role in the Consortium, MDC also participates in a larger coalition of nonprofit organizations, called “the Big Tent,” which coordinates outreach and enrollment efforts among nonprofit organizations, Federally-Qualified Health Centers, and other organizations, such as Enroll America. MDC provides support to the Big Tent, the Consortium, and a cohort of nearly 250 federally-certified Navigators.
In its role as a Consortium member, MDC has played a central role in building the partnership’s core infrastructure by creating a number of tools to assist in local collaboration, information sharing, and marketing. Specifically, MDC created an online repository of critical information on the ACA, a county-by-county resource directory, and a statewide online calendar of events searchable by county.
But we are not alone. The call center and scheduling system run by partner Legal Aid of North Carolina (available by calling 855.733.3711) is widely recognized as the gold standard among states operating with the federal Marketplace.
MDC has also taken a leadership role in reaching out to the state’s community colleges to provide information and enrollment opportunities to their students and communities. MDC is actively working with Central Carolina Community College, Durham Technical Community College, Forsyth Technical Community College, Fayetteville Technical Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, Pitt Community College, and Wake Technical Community College.
These colleges are partnering with MDC, Enroll America, and other nonprofit organizations to connect with students through a variety of different engagement strategies including blast emails, webpages, weekly tabling sessions, informational presentations, and on-campus enrollment appointments.
While the data from the final two months of the open enrollment period will tell the full story of this first chapter of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, one thing is clear: the efforts of a committed and well-organized nonprofit sector have played a vital role in making North Carolina a leader in healthcare enrollment.
Data Snapshot from the Navigator Consortium (as of December 31, 2013)
- More than 2,600 one-on-one appointments scheduled with consumers
- More than 500 outreach events held across the state
- More than 21,000 North Carolina consumers reached directly through presentations and outreach events