Topics
More on Patient Engagement

HHS and partner organizations launch media campaign to increase Black enrollment in ACA health plans

So far in the SEP, Black Americans have enrolled in federal health plans at higher rates than in previous years.

Mallory Hackett, Associate Editor

Photo by Robin Gentry/EyeEm/Getty ImagesPhoto by Robin Gentry/EyeEm/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services launched a social media campaign this week to boost enrollment in Affordable Care Act health plans among Black Americans.

HHS is partnering with a group of national organizations to raise awareness among the Black community of the coverage options available through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Special Enrollment Period on HealthCare.gov.

Through targeted messages, emails, digital advertisements and earned media opportunities, HHS and its partnering organizations hope to increase access to health coverage among the Black population.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT?

So far during the SEP, historically uninsured populations, including Black Americans and people close to the poverty line, have enrolled in federal health plans at higher rates than in previous years.

From February 15 to March 31, 17% of enrollees who shared their race identified as Black – compared to about 11% in both 2020 and 2019, during the same time period, according to a CMS report. Among consumers requesting financial assistance, 41% report being at or slightly above the federal poverty level, compared to 38% in 2020 and 33% in 2019.

"Black Americans are clearly taking advantage of the current Special Enrollment Period to access quality health care coverage," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

"But, we still have a lot of work to do. We are building on this encouraging momentum and earnestly teaming with key national partners serving Black communities. We are leveraging their expertise and networks to promote enrollment in quality, affordable health insurance coverage during this SEP.

"Health care is more affordable now, and access easier than ever, for people in need of a health plan that best fits an individual's or family's health care needs."

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS

  • 100 Black Men of America
  • AHIP
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • American Hospital Association (AHA)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • Association of Black Cardiologists
  • BlackDoctor.org
  • Black Women's Agenda
  • Black Women for Positive Change
  • Black Women's Health Imperative
  • Iota Phi Theta
  • Mom's Rising
  • NAACP
  • National Action Network
  • National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
  • National Baptist Convention, USA
  • National Caucus and Center on Black Aging
  • National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
  • National Medical Association
  • National Urban League
  • Organization of Black Designers
  • Virginia Mae King Foundation
  • Young Invincibles

THE LARGER TREND

The SEP was first announced in January to make health insurance available for those who lost their coverage along with their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. It opened in February, and since then, more than half a million consumers have signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov.

In March, CMS announced it's extending the SEP until August 15 to give new and current enrollees an additional three months to enroll or re-evaluate their coverage with increased tax credits made available through the Biden administration's American Rescue Plan.

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Email the writer: mhackett@himss.org

How COVID-19 has transformed public policy and population health efforts

Special Report: Telehealth, mental health and racial inequality issues have put a spotlight on how to address the needs of underserved populations.