Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever. But still, in communities across the country, 10.5 million people who are eligible for Marketplace coverage remain uninsured. In addition to launching the Healthy Communities Challenge to engage key communities in reducing the uninsured during this third Open Enrollment period, the White House also issued a challenge:
Build outreach efforts that can reach these remaining uninsured Americans and help them gain coverage.
Today, the White House is highlighting the creative ways that two health care companies, ZocDoc and Oscar Health, stepped up to answer this call, and showing how they are part of a growing trend of companies using the Internet to address our nation’s problems together.
Starting today, ZocDoc, which helps people book appointments online with doctors across the country, will be using its Web and email products to reach out to hundreds of thousands of customers it believes may not have health insurance, for example, people who have booked doctors’ appointments on ZocDoc but signaled that they will pay with cash. ZocDoc will remind these customers to sign-up for coverage at Healthcare.gov before the December 15 deadline to enroll in or change plans for coverage starting on January 1, 2016.
We know that many uninsured Americans question whether they can afford coverage, and may not realize that more than 7 in 10 HealthCare.gov customers can find insurance for $75 a month or less after tax credits. So for uninsured Americans who remain skeptical about the costs of getting insured, health insurance company Oscar Health has created a digital video public service announcement (PSA) that explains why health insurance is actually more affordable than people may think. Oscar will distribute this video in key markets online, too, including in California, New York, and Texas.
Both ZocDoc and Oscar Health are just two recent examples of how creative use of new technologies can help empower citizens with knowledge and opportunities to help address today’s public policy challenges together. In October, in response to a call issued by the President to help aid refugees, tens of thousands of Americans donated to refugee relief efforts — with opportunities to donate made ubiquitous thanks to independent product integrations from Kickstarter, Instacart, and others. And when the First Lady called for the private sector to help employ veterans and end veterans’ homelessness, companies across the economy responded with hiring commitments and other creative actions. This past Veterans Day, ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft enabled tens of thousands of Americans to donate free rides to homeless veterans to help them get to job interviews, employment events, and home from new jobs when public transportation is not an option.
Scores of companies and non-profits, from a wide range of sectors, are stepping up to help address today’s collective challenges and support expanded civic participation. The President and First Lady have rallied citizen engagement on many key collective challenges: protecting the climate, improving access to healthcare, giving our veterans the support they deserve, fighting childhood obesity, making sure every child finishes school ready for college and career, and so many more. The Internet’s ability to empower citizens to engage and take immediate action has helped expand opportunities for companies and non-profits to work with members, customers and the public to facilitate broader civic participation. At the White House, the Office of Digital Strategy is constantly looking for new and creative ways to expand opportunities for civic participation in solving todays’ problems together. If your organization is using the Internet to help citizens pitch in to solve our nation’s problems, or would like to and think you can help in some way, please get in touch.
President Barack Obama fist bumps a middle-school student participating in an “Hour of Code” event to honor Computer Science Education Week in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Dec. 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
And, don’t forget: the deadline for January 1 coverage is December 15, and open enrollment ends on January 31. If affordable health insurance is available, but you choose to not enroll in coverage for 2016, you may be required to pay a fee when you file your 2016 federal income taxes. So go to HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 for more information or to sign up today.