The Connecticut public health insurance marketplace expanded its in-person assistance presence in time for the second open enrollment cycle, which is currently in its third week.
Access Health CT, which administers the marketplace, aims to enroll 70,000 new individuals by the end of the present enrollment period. As of Nov. 20, there were 11,604 new enrollees. While Access Health CT maintained two enrollment centers during last year’s enrollment period, they expanded their efforts this year by adding Community Enrollment Partner sites, placing employees in towns that do not have enrollment centers. The ten Connecticut towns with the most uninsured residents at the end of the first enrollment period each boast an enrollment center or Community Enrollment Partner site that operates on a consistent schedule multiple days a week.
“We want [residents] to know that we are here to help, and that they don’t have to go through this alone,” said Kathleen Tallarita, government and public affairs outreach manager of Access Health CT.
Last year, Access Health CT held daily enrollment fairs in different community centers across the state. This year, the enrollment fairs have been replaced with the regularly operating Community Enrollment Partner sites, which are inspired by the success of the enrollment centers.
The two enrollment centers are located in New Britain and New Haven, while the Community Enrollment Partner sites in other towns are based in community organizations ranging from libraries to local Departments of Labor.
Furthermore, Access Health CT is partnering with the Connecticut Health Foundation, the largest independent health philanthropy in Connecticut, to provide even more enrollment assistance in select areas. At the end of October, the Connecticut Health Foundation gave a $100,000 grant to 18 Connecticut organizations unaffiliated with Access Health CT to provide further in-person enrollment assistance. Access Health CT is responsible for training the in-person assisters at these locations. Four of the 18 grant recipients are located in New Haven; other towns that received the grant include Danbury, Hartford and Bridgeport.
“These organizations are embedded in the community, and they are trusted resources for people in the community,” said Yolanda Caldera-Durant, senior program officer of the Connecticut Health Foundation. She noted that the grant recipients have past experience in assisting residents with enrollment. The grant recipients will be able to assist residents who have limited English ability or who only speak Spanish.
Both Tallarita and Caldera-Durant noted that much of the remaining uninsured population fall under specific demographics: those under the age of 35, males, African-Americans and Latinos.
According to data collected by Thomson Reuters and Access Health CT, Connecticut’s first open enrollment period cut the uninsured rate by more than 30 percent. Access Health CT’s Dec. 2 press release noted that approximately 21 percent of Medicaid enrollees and 17 percent of qualified health plan enrollees signed up at enrollment centers or with the help of an in-person assister during the last open enrollment period.
For the uninsured, the present enrollment period ends on Feb. 15.
Correction: Dec. 5
A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Yolanda Caldera-Durant, senior program officer of the Connecticut Health Foundation.