Local ACA navigators ramp up enrollment outreach despite fewer federal marketing dollars

In anticipation of the ACA enrollment period, local organizations dedicated to helping people register for plans on the ACA exchanges are stepping up their outreach efforts amid decreased marketing funding from the White House, according to The Hill.

These "assister" or "navigator" programs, many of which are local nonprofits and some of which are supported by federal grants, are charged with helping people enroll in ACA plans. Because President Donald Trump's administration has decreased ACA marketing funding by $3 million this year, they are stepping up their outreach campaigns.

"Given the fact that we really have received no assurances that we'll have national support with marketing in advance of open enrollment, it's really incumbent upon us to do everything we can to highlight [open enrollment] dates," said Jessie Menkens, Alaska Primary Care Association's navigator program coordinator.

The enrollment period has been shortened from 90 days to 45 days this year, which has led many navigators to begin their outreach earlier than in years past.

"We're not going to have the luxury of that time, so our message from the very beginning is going to be more the urgent message: Now's the time," said Catherine Edwards, the executive director of the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

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