Selwyn C.,CAI Cicatelli Associates Inc. |
Senter L.,CAI Cicatelli Associates Inc.
Healthcare | Year: 2016
Background: The United States currently faces the large, logistical undertaking of enrolling millions of Americans into a complex Affordable Care Act (ACA) system within a short period of time. One way states have addressed this implementation challenge is through the development of consumer assistance programs. In these programs, health care professionals-known as "Assistors"-are trained in insurance enrollment services to help consumers navigate the complex application and plan selection process, with the ultimate goal of optimizing enrollment rates. Organizational context: Cicatelli Associates Inc. (CAI), a non-profit capacity building organization, has served as the Statewide Training Center for New York's Health Insurance Program Initiative since 2013, before the ACA Marketplace roll-out occurred. This article presents a narrative of CAI's experiences and promising practices related to training and developing of the Assistor workforce in New York State (NYS). Solutions identified through training and development: By the end of the second enrollment period (February 2015), NYS trained and certified over 11,000 Assistors 1; CAI trained fifteen percent of this total workforce. As a result of this intensive workforce training effort, NYS observed extremely high rates of facilitated enrollment, and overall success with the roll-out process. Lessons from the field: Through this initiative, CAI has garnered key insights for other organizations that engage in similar work, as well as state policymakers considering how to integrate and bolster the Assistor programs in their states. These lessons include: the necessity of ensuring that Assistors are armed with all technical concepts and messages; ensuring that Assistors are motivated to work through a change process; the constructive feedback process that can occur when these Assistors directly communicate issues to the state; and the transformation of public opinion that can occur when Assistors provide good customer service and can effectively promote statewide and federal ACA policies and benefits. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.