In focus groups of the populations most likely to benefit from the new coverage options — Latinos, African Americans and young adults — "virtually none" of the participants knew about the new coverage options, Enroll America said.
Enroll America is led by Anne Filipic, a former White House official, and Ron Pollack, who leads the advocacy group Families USA. It is an outgrowth of external efforts to get the Affordable Care Act passed and will focus over the next several months on ensuring that people enroll in the exchanges and Medicaid expansion.
"Throughout this public education and outreach campaign, Enroll America intends to refine the messages, identify the messengers, and use the mediums that are most likely to reach the diverse people and families needing health coverage," the organization's leaders said.
A slew of congressional Democrats have expressed concern recently about the implementation effort, fearing that a lackluster rollout could damage their prospects in 2014 as well as Obama's legacy.
Filipic, Pollack, and Rachel Klein wrote in Health Affairs that Republican resistance to the health law is holding back the effort to make sure people enroll.
"Given the political contentiousness about the ACA, many states headed by the law’s opponents are less than eager to undertake meaningful public education and outreach efforts targeting uninsured people in their states … As a result, the creation of a robust, seamless enrollment infrastructure in all or most of those states is a work in progress," they wrote.