With only one week left to go until the deadline to sign up for health insurance on the federally-run HealthCare.gov website, experts (and non-experts everywhere) are vocal about to how fix Healthcare.gov.
It’s been a rocky ride since the site’s October 1st launch, and while many of the kinks have been smoothed out, there still remains quite a bit of retooling to do. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the debate surrounding the website’s botched rollout has been colorful, acrimonious, and wide-ranging. From bungling the political messaging of the site launch to blatantly failing “Web 101,” the various explanations for the failure have been as complicated as the site itself.
Last week, a panel of industry experts got together to offer their insights about what the Feds can specifically do to repair the site’s shortcomings and win back the trust of a skeptical public:
Wendy Lund, CEO of Health-Care Public Affairs Shop GCI Health
Eliminate confusion around coverage and restore credibility through testimonials: Reviving faith in HealthCare.gov will require two things. First, concrete action that assures nervous Americans that they will not have to pay more for coverage that gives them things they don’t necessarily want will be critical. Second, the government needs to start shifting the focus from the myriad problems that plague the site to success stories that demonstrate that the system is beginning to work. Now that HealthCare.gov is functioning better, these “successes” should be identifiable, and the government needs to seize on them to begin converting the skeptics, including those in the media.
Lindsay Resnick, CMO of Health Services at KBM Group
Run the cleanup effort like a political campaign: The quick answer is do what our government does best … run it like a political campaign. It’s begun to reset expectations around timing and process, and now it needs to rebuild trust among the voters. You’ll see much more outreach, especially over the next few weeks, around the enrollment deadline in January. It might include grassroots — including POTUS on the ACA campaign trail — to social and possibly an uptick in TV and radio. Basically, everything you didn’t see leading up to October because enough insiders were nervous about HealthCare.gov readiness. Welcome to Obamacare 2.0 … and it’s only two months in!
Matt Powell, Chief Information Officer, KBS+
Turn data into sharable content: Comparison information, benefits of insurance, relative cost of being insured vs. uninsured and even improvements made to HealthCare.gov are all kinds of “data” that lend themselves perfectly to infographic-style and short-form web-video formats. They’re sharable and they reach younger demographics of uninsured.
Relate to the uninsured through branded entertainment: New voices, particularly voices that are more relatable to the uninsured, might be very effective at getting people to reconsider HealthCare.gov. Imagine reality TV stars like the crew of “Duck Dynasty” going through the sign-up process.
Partner with community health centers and pharmacies, use street teams: Target the uninsured at pharmacies — the uninsured are heavy users of over-the-counter products — and community health resources, such as health centers and health vans and buses that serve neighborhoods on weekends. They can distribute training and content to their constituents in these communities. Street teams in key geographies nationwide, including volunteers to answer questions and tablet-based sign-up kiosks, can also help establish a beachhead of credibility and trust within communities that have less access to the internet.
“More than half a million Americans have enrolled through HealthCare.gov in the first 3 weeks of December alone,” President Obama said in his final press conference of 2013. “Millions of Americans are now poised to be covered by quality, affordable health insurance come New Year’s Day.” Good luck!