Well even tho the Exchanges for Obamacare haven’t been set up by the Governor or the State, the federally funded exchanges will start this week in Nashville. According to State law ( Tennessee Healthcare Freedom Act), Tennesseans can’t be forced to buy Obamacare or pay the
penalty tax for not purchasing it.
Also we have: Obamacare behind schedule as Oct. 1 rollout nears
With Oct. 1 less than four months away, the countdown for enrollment on the public health exchanges has officially started, including in Nashville, where a series of education events to drive enrollment on Tennessee’s federally run exchange is slated to kick-off this week.
The events, held in private homes across the city and surrounding suburbs, are sponsored by Enroll America, a national coalition that aims to increase participation in the Affordable Care Act.
The group, which has gotten press in recent weeks following reports that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was fundraising on the group’s behalf, announced Tuesday that it is kicking off its “Get Covered America” enrollment campaign this week with events in 18 states, including Tennessee.
Davidson Country resident Jackie Shrago is hosting a launch event Thursday evening at her home on Woodmont Boulevard. Shrago got involved with Enroll America after the group sent out emails to people who might be interested in joining the campaign. Shrager is one of a handful of Middle Tennessee residents who will be hosting events.
“There are lots of people who have indicated that they are interested in helping with health care reform and want to get people involved,” said Shrago, who has been emailing and calling people to drive event attendance.
The night, which is meant to serve as an introduction to Enroll American and the task at hand, will kick off with a video from Enroll America about health care reform and the Get Covered campaign, followed by a discussion of what strategies to employ in Tennessee.
Between now and October, local volunteers like Shrago will concentrate on recruiting more volunteers, but come October, she said to expect tactics similar to campaign and voter registration drives, including tables set up at shopping centers and some door-to-door canvassing. The group is also reaching out to churches, community organizations and other civic groups to aid in the enrollment effort.
“The sooner we get people involved, the cheaper it becomes for all of us,” said Shrager. One group they may target are 18-35 year olds, a demographic that is crucial for keeping costs low in the exchanges. But the tactic here may be old-school – Shrago said they may reach out to mothers to tap their young adult children about enrolling in coverage.
Enroll America is one of the largest national groups tapping into the power of local grassroots to spur enrollment, but Nashville has its own home-grown groups as well.
Based in East Nashville, You’re Covered Nashville is a local grassroots organization that advocates on behalf of the law, targeting small business owners, the self-employed and part-time workers. The group hosts regular information sessions out in the community.
Last month, I spoke with Vanderbilt professor John Graves, who joined the economic analytics team at Enroll America, where he is helping to create a database that will help dictate enrollment messages and strategies based on various demographic data. In our conversation, he touched on the science that exchange failure or success relies on, getting the right mix of people enrolled:
“The challenge of the exchanges is getting a good mix of people. Some people will go and sign up right away, and in some sense, those are the people you don’t need to target because they will do it themselves. It’s really about getting the word out to people that there’s going to be coverage available outside of the workplace … people are constantly churning on and off of insurance coverage,” he said.
E.J. Boyer covers Nashville’s health care industry and legal affairs.