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Lessons Learned: Invest in Key Partners to Increase Outreach and Enrollment Capacity in Communities of Color

UHCAN Ohio has been building outreach and enrollment capacity in communities of color by working with churches and community organizations to strengthen their ability to navigate the uninsured from their congregations and communities to coverage. We would like to highlight two of these programs: Horn of Africa Voluntary Youth Committee (HAVOYOCO), in Columbus, and University Settlement, Cleveland. HAVOYOCO primarily serves Africans, including the Somali population. University Settlement serves primarily African Americans and, through its partners, also serves Hispanic populations.

With funding from UHCAN Ohio’s Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Consumer Voices for Coverage grant, these two programs operated multiple enrollment sites and were able to hire and provide stipends to Certified Application Counselors (CACs) from their communities to provide outreach, enrollment, and post-enrollment activities for the communities they serve. The stipends allowed the programs to recruit people who had a passion for working in their own community. “We tried to do this work last year with volunteers. We had some volunteers, but did not have the quality of people who provided regular hours we could count on. We had much more success using stipends. Our CACs’ enrollment hours were more consistent, they conducted regular outreach and enrollment, and they came up with innovative places to conduct outreach and enrollment,” said Belinda Harris, CTSOC Lead Parent Advocate at University Settlement.

HAVOYOCO operated two community sites and funded two African enrollment assistors. University Settlement operated four community sites and funded three African American assistors. During the months of November through January, HAVOYOCO and University Settlement CACs provided face-to-face enrollment assistance to over 300 persons, many of whom spoke English as a second language, and conducted outreach to more than 500. More important than the numbers is the fact that there are now five trained CACs who are providing continuing enrollment assistance, following up with those they assist to make sure they got the coverage they need and understand how to use it, and who are prepared to steer people from their communities to coverage during the current special enrollment period and the next open enrollment period.

If you or someone you know needs coverage, contact us at 614 456-0060 ext. 233 or click here.