The Obamacare administration hopes to ensure at least 7 million enrollments for health insurance by the end of March. The Obama administration is starting massive public campaigns to educate people about their insurance options. They are also looking for assists from professional sports leagues like NBA and NFL.
With only 98 days left for enrolments, President Barack Obama, Sebelius and other officials will travel the country and spread the word reinforced by social media and advertizing. There will be some 9000 people employed in 11 states to handle queries in more than 100 languages by the 60 million people who go to Medicare.gov yearly.
The government will negotiate with the insurers on the amount of premium charged "What consumers should be confident about is that we intend to do rate negotiation and make sure that the plans offer consumers the best possible choices," Sebelius said. The Congressional Budget Office estimated 7 million enrolments this year and expected 24 million by 2023. Millions could enroll in the expanded Medicaid, though many states had opted out of the expansion with a Supreme Court permit.
"We're going to be driving our efforts toward that kind of enrollment effort," she said. "It's both about numbers and also hopefully getting a balanced risk pool." The matter of concern is if only the sick sign up which will weigh down the program with heavy medical bills. Sebelius acknowledges the importance of young and healthy people signing up and to do this she is personally involved in talks with NFL and other sports leagues about partnerships related to enrollment.
"We're having discussions active discussions right now with a variety of sports affiliates, both in terms of what will end up being paid advertising but hopefully some partnership efforts," she said.
Star athletes could help persuade young people to enroll, but Sebelius is also hoping that many moms weigh in. She said the administration's research has found that mothers can most easily persuade a 20-something child, especially men, to get health insurance.
"Moms can be influential with that demographic group," she said. "So some of our outreach efforts will be to those mothers who both make health decisions for their own families ... but can also have some influence over their younger adult children."
Sebelius said she's confident that the exchanges will be ready to go on Oct. 1, pushing back against critics who say the government will not be ready in time.
"We have the next couple of months laid out with a very busy and engaged schedule to make sure that we're ready for marketplace launch on Oct. 1, with open enrollment," Sebelius said. "It's a huge undertaking across the country, and I'm confident we're on track to get it done."
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Jennifer Haberkorn, June 2013