Start your timer. Count down the days. Open enrollment is coming. On October 1, consumers will be able to start signing up for the new health coverage options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—and there will be new opportunities for them to get help finding quality, affordable plans.
Our organization, Enroll America, is a nonprofit, non-partisan 501(c)3 dedicated to spreading the word about Americans’ new health coverage options. Working with our broad array of partners, we’re helping consumers get the facts about how they can get covered and engaging the entire health care community as we all mobilize for enrollment.
Out of those who reported having an unmet need for mental health care in 2011, nearly two-thirds said they went without care because they couldn’t afford it or because their health insurance either wouldn’t cover it at all or insufficiently covered it, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
And around 30% of those who will soon be eligible for financial help through health insurance marketplaces or from expanded Medicaid have a mental illness or a substance use disorder. In total, around 11 million in need of mental health and substance use disorder care could benefit from newly enrolling in coverage this fall.
Getting these individuals enrolled will take one of the biggest outreach and public education efforts ever undertaken in the history of public health coverage programs. Why? Our research reveals that 78% of the uninsured don’t know (yet) about the coming coverage options. Our findings point to some of the most important messages to use to compel people to enroll, and the effective ways to reach them.