Health Insurance Literacy: Solutions from a Successful Model

From left to right: Ryan Barker, MSW, MPPA, Kelly Ferrara, Catina O’Leary, Ph.D.

From left to right: Ryan Barker, MSW, MPPA, Kelly Ferrara, Catina O’Leary, Ph.D.

Catina O’Leary, Kelly Ferrara, and Ryan Barker discussed the strengths and difficulties of the Cover Missouri Coalition and how they collaboratively reached a total of 152,335 enrollments.

The Coalition was established due to the recognition that state was not in full support of Affordable Care Act and as such the state and some county health departments could not participate in outreach and education for the Federal Marketplace.

Although the main goal of the Coalition is to “reduce the uninsured rate to less than 5% in the next 5 years” they believe that “it’s more than that”.  Their initiative seeks to “increase access to healthcare, preventative care, and create real change with real peoples’ lives”.  In order to accomplish this goal the coalition mentioned that using and understanding health insurance is a multistep process.  As such, the coalition worked with different organizations and groups that would help at each step to increase health literacy.  This multilayer approach included working with physicians on communication, translating material to be disseminated in outreach, and working with community members to ensure materials were culturally sensitive.

Some of the key ingredients to their success were having an active facilitator who positively and enthusiastically encouraged participation, developing a digital drop box to make material readily available, and face to face interaction, which was vital to outreach and engagement.