Exchange enrollment: Tips from state marketplaces

Colorado's Connect for Health signed up 119,000 people for commercial insurance as of April 1, just shy of its 136,000 goal. As state officials work to improve the process for next year's open enrollment period, Connect for Health Chief Operating Officer Lindy Hinman highlighted some of the state-based exchange's best practices for enrolling consumers, USA Today reported.

Hinman named pop-up offices as one of its most successful enrollment tactics. In addition to 55 appointment-only offices, the state opened six temporary offices so consumers could get coverage assistance without an appointment during the final enrollment push.

Colorado simplified the exchange enrollment process by allowing consumers to explore coverage options without having to register, Hinman told USA Today. Kentucky's Kynect, a state-based exchange hailed as a success, also allowed anonymous shopping and took it a step further so an individual or family could do an anonymous preliminary screening with a few pieces of basic information, such as the size of the household and ages.

Open enrollment reinforced the need to focus on better customer service, prompting Covered California to hire hundreds of new customer service workers, many of whom were bilingual, executive director Peter Lee said in January at a press briefing hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. California surpassed its enrollment goal of signing up 580,000 consumers by March 31, with almost 830,000 enrolled as of mid-February.

Another successful move by Colorado's Connect for Health involved creating a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization to run the exchange. A newly formed organization gave the exchange great flexibility to contract with vendors, USA Today noted.

Kynect, meanwhile, established its office of the exchange as a state agency, which let the exchange take advantage of the state's accounting systems, policies and procedures. "Setting it up as a state agency under the Cabinet for Health and Family Services got us moving immediately," Chris Clark, Kynect's technical leader, told FierceHealthIT in an interview this month.

For more:
- read the USA Today article