Barriers to Enrollment in Health Coverage in Colorado

A study of Colorado's own health insurance exchange for individuals identified 11 commonly cited barriers that have prevented eligible individuals from not enrolling in coverage.

As part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Colorado has expanded Medicaid and also now operates its own health insurance exchange for individuals (called Connect for Health Colorado). As of early 2014, more than 300,000 Coloradans have newly enrolled in Medicaid or health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado, but there also continues to be a diverse mix of individuals in Colorado who remain eligible for but not enrolled in either private insurance or Medicaid. The Colorado Health Foundation commissioned the RAND Corporation to conduct a study to better understand why these individuals are not enrolled in health insurance coverage and to develop recommendations for how Colorado can strengthen its outreach and enrollment efforts during the next open enrollment period, which starts in November 2014.

RAND conducted focus groups with uninsured and newly insured individuals across the state and interviews with local stakeholders responsible for enrollment efforts in their regions. The authors identified 11 commonly cited barriers, as well as several that were specific to certain regions or populations (such as young adults and seasonal workers). Collectively, these barriers point to a set of 4 priority recommendations that stakeholders in Colorado may wish to consider: (1) Support and expand localized outreach and tailored messaging; (2) Strengthen marketing and messaging to be clear, focused on health benefits of insurance (rather than politics and mandates), and actionable; (3) Improve the clarity and transparency of insurance and health care costs and enrollment procedures, and (4) Revisit the 2-stage enrollment process and improve Connect for Health Colorado website navigation and technical support.

Read the full research report at RAND: http://bit.ly/1vOZwMp