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Horizon Steps In to Promote Open Enrollment as the Federal Government Reduces ACA Marketing and Outreach Efforts

Federal funding for marketing and promotion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period was reduced by 90 percent to just $10 million this year. The period to enroll has been cut in half to just six weeks from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15. Funding for navigators who help people pick the plan that is best for them has been reduced by 40 percent (New Jersey, down 62 percent) and the program’s website, HealthCare.gov is scheduled to be shut down for 12 hours on five of the six Sundays during open enrollment. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ) recognizes the need to help people find health care coverage and announced today that it is enhancing outreach efforts in response to federal cutbacks.“As Washington reduces its effort to promote open enrollment, Horizon is stepping in and stepping up to connect New Jersey residents with the information and resources they need to get coverage to improve their health,” said Michael J. Considine, Horizon BCBSNJ Vice President of Consumer, Small Group and Mid-Size Market Units. “We are putting unprecedented resources into this effort through community-based outreach, expanding our footprint in malls throughout the state, hosting regular grassroots education events and making agents available in person, on the phone or online to help people choose the plan that is right for them and see if they qualify for federal tax credits that have helped nearly 80% of the people who get health insurance through the individual market,” Considine said.Horizon addresses the 90 percent cut for open enrollment marketing:

  • Letters will be sent to members explaining what people must do to ensure coverage for 2018.
  • A heavy digital advertising campaign will be launched creating a statewide presence utilizing paid search, banner ads, social media and video to remind consumers about the open enrollment period and how Horizon can help guide them.
  • A large traditional advertising campaign will feature billboards and signage throughout New Jersey including on trains and buses.

Horizon addresses the reduction in navigator support:

  • Trained and licensed telephone agents will answer questions and help enroll people into consumer plans both on and off the exchange.
  • Horizon’s “Blue To You” mobile vans will visit over 15 locations throughout open enrollment to provide educational and enrollment services. The latest schedule can be viewed at www.horizonblue.com/events.
  • A series of Town hall-style educational events will be held with a variety of community-based groups and in-person assisters will be on hand to help people enroll on the spot.

Bilingual representatives will be available at Horizon Connect – a retail center staffed by trained agents in the East Gate Square Shopping Center in Moorestown, Monday – Friday, 9am – 7pm; Saturday, 9am – 4pm, as well as at with mall kiosk locations that Horizon BCBSNJ has established for the 2018 open enrollment period:Open Monday-Saturday, 11am – 6 pm, Horizon BCBSNJ kiosks will be in the following mall locations from Oct. 15 through Dec. 15 (except Woodbridge):

  • Woodbridge Center -- 250 Woodbridge Center Drive, Woodbridge, NJ. (Opens Oct. 18)
  • Bergen Town Center Mall – 1 Bergen Town Center, Paramus, NJ.
  • Newport Centre Mall -- 30 Mall Drive West, Jersey City, NJ.
  • Willowbrook Mall -- 1400 Willowbrook Mall Rd., Wayne, NJ.

The enrollment and service centers that Horizon opened with HolaDoctor in 2015 and 2016 will be open seven days a week from 10am – 6pm during the open enrollment period. Each location offers bi-lingual agents offering full enrollment services including assisting consumers apply for federal tax credits. HolaDoctor centers are open at:

  • 393 Central Ave., Jersey City
  • 197 Smith St., Perth Amboy

Through digital, grass roots, marketing and education efforts over the last two years to engage consumers, Horizon BCBSNJ has helped roughly 70,000 previously uninsured New Jerseyans obtain affordable, quality health coverage.

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

About Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state's oldest and largest health insurer is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service corporation, providing a wide array of medical, dental, vision and prescription insurance products and services. Horizon BCBSNJ is leading the transformation of health care in New Jersey by working with doctors and hospitals to deliver innovative, patient-centered programs that reward the quality, not quantity, of care patients receive. Learn more at www.HorizonBlue.com. Horizon BCBSNJ is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association serving more than 3.8 million members.