FACT SHEET: Announcing the Winner of the Healthy Communities Challenge
Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that nearly 13 million Americans selected a 2016 Marketplace plan during the third open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act. This year’s successful open enrollment builds on recent years of rapid progress in expanding access to health insurance coverage, which has pushed the nation’s uninsured rate below 10 percent for the first time ever. These gains are thanks in large part to the efforts of local and state elected officials, community organizations and leaders, and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help their neighbors find access to quality, affordable coverage.
Today, the White House is announcing that the winner of the White House “Healthy Communities Challenge” is Milwaukee, Wis. Under the leadership of Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele, about 38,000 people in the Milwaukee area newly selected a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace during this open enrollment period. Together with returning Marketplace consumers, about 89,000 people in the Milwaukee area selected a 2016 Marketplace plan. Altogether, participating communities saw over 1.6 million new enrollees, representing the people where were uninsured for years as well as Americans finding coverage as they go through changes in life such as being in between jobs, striking out as entrepreneurs, or aging off their parents' plans. Many more consumers renewed their previous Marketplace coverage.
Chicago, Ill.; Atlanta, Ga.; Detroit, Mich. and Oakland, Calif. rounded out the top five for the Challenge. As the victorious community, Milwaukee receives bragging rights, a healthier community, and a visit from President Obama to celebrate their success in helping ensure Americans have health coverage. President Obama will visit Milwaukee in the coming weeks.
President Obama said, “I congratulate Milwaukee, and all of the other communities who took part in the challenge, for their passion and innovation in finding ways to make sure they and their neighbors could get the health care and peace of mind that they deserve. That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about. The efforts from mayors, local officials, assisters and residents remind me of what’s best in America, and what I see whenever I travel around the country: good people in strong communities who look out for each other and take care of their own. As always, Washington can learn a lot from the communities we represent.”
The White House announced the “Healthy Communities Challenge” to engage key communities with large numbers or high percentages of uninsured in states across the country. Based on particularly high opportunity for impact with strong federal, state and community collaboration, the White House reached out to local officials in each of these 20 communities to get their uninsured constituents covered.
The lessons learned from every participating community will be invaluable in guiding enrollment efforts nationwide for years to come. Communities participating in the Healthy Communities Challenge utilized effective practices to increase enrollment during the open enrollment period. Below are just a few of the innovative tactics that participating communities used and that leaders across the country can adopt for future enrollment periods to make sure their constituents get covered.
Here are a few examples of tactics from Healthy Communities Challenge Cities:
- Mayor Kasim Reed in Atlanta attended open enrollment events to remind people of enrollment locations and to share information on benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
- In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel directed the City’s 311 non-emergency services line to inform all callers of their ACA insurance options and provided guidance to operators to connect callers to enrollment opportunities.
- Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins worked with the Dallas County Community College District to remind students to enroll on campus during National Youth Enrollment Day.
- Mayor Sly James in Kansas City created Public Service Announcements that were aired over 330 times on radio stations.
- In California, Mayor Robert Garcia of Long Beach recruited community organizations to undertake large canvassing efforts in areas with high-uninsured, subsidy-eligible populations.
- In Milwaukee, Mayor Tom Barrett opened libraries for enrollment events, delivered thousands of flyers to promote enrollment events, and participated in robocalls and phone banking. County Executive Chris Abele ran digital signage on County buses, directing people to HealthCare.gov and additional services available through 211 to help individuals with the application process.
- Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released information about open enrollment during key festivities such as the Music City Bowl and the New Years’ Eve festival, where about 250,000 people were in attendance.
- Mayor Mitch Landrieu in New Orleans created a challenge with barbershops and beauty salons to spread the word about open enrollment.
- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf set up a storefront for enrollment at City Hall for consumers to find information and enrollment assistance.
- In Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney participated in a telethon for Latino radio stations and sent an email to the public school system’s parent portal about enrollment.
- Mayor Ben McAdams in Salt Lake County focused on connecting navigators with a population of formerly incarcerated individuals and also with members of the refugee community.
- In Seattle and King County, “Health-Care Happy Hours” were held at social events that focused on small businesses and arts/culture.
- Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s team distributed tens of thousands of fans throughout community centers, churches and libraries. The fans listed enrollment sites and provided Covering Tampa Bay’s 1-800-number to set up appointments to enroll.
Final Results for the Healthy Communities Challenge
Success in the Healthy Communities Challenge was measured by the ratio, for each community, of the number of Marketplace plan selections by new consumers during open enrollment compared to the number of uninsured individuals eligible for Marketplace coverage at the beginning of open enrollment. Communities were defined as designated market areas (DMAs). New plan selections were reported by HHS or, where applicable, the State-Based Marketplace serving each community. The number of Marketplace-eligible uninsured was estimated by HHS.
* Some counties of this DMA are served by a State-Based Marketplace, not HealthCare.gov. The reported numbers of plan selections and QHP-eligible uninsured reflect only the portion of the DMA that is served by HealthCare.gov.
** Some counties of the Denver DMA are located outside Colorado and are served by HealthCare.gov, rather than Connect for Health Colorado. The reported numbers of plan selections and QHP-eligible uninsured reflect only the portion of the DMA in Colorado.