Key Findings from the Field: Early Experience with ACA Enrollment in Maryland and Nevada
In conclusion, the early ACA enrollment experiences of early applicants and consumer assisters in Maryland and Nevada suggest that, as might be expected, these consumers are highly motivated to obtain health insurance. They noted that being uninsured is a personal and financial challenge, and while some expressed concern about new costs, they were eager for coverage to begin. In both states, the Marketplace websites have been continually improving and consumers appeared to be patient with system issues. In addition, consumer assisters in both states are playing an important role in their communities to help educate consumers and connect them to coverage. As consumers enrolled, they needed and wanted information to understand their health plan options and how to use their coverage. Helping consumers make informed plan choices required providing them with a thorough understanding of plans, including covered services, provider networks, and cost sharing requirements, since consumer plan selections are driven by many factors beyond premium costs. These focus groups of early applicants suggest that continued outreach and education about key provisions of the law is needed to ensure consumers understand how the Marketplaces work, and, in particular, the different deadlines for enrolling in coverage.
This brief was prepared by Samantha Artiga and Jessica Stephens from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Michael Perry with PerryUndem Research and Communication.