Donations drop for ObamaCare enrollment

The nonprofit group charged with bringing uninsured Americans into ObamaCare's exchanges raised $7 million less to support its efforts this year than during the buildup to the healthcare law's rollout in 2013.

Enroll America announced that it has $20 million to spend on outreach for the 2015 sign-up period beginning Saturday. The group touted more than $27 million in fundraising at this time last year.

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The disparity highlights challenges facing healthcare enrollment activists in ObamaCare's second year, when enthusiasm and public attention is lower.

Enroll America President Anne Filipic downplayed the differences, saying the group was "pleased" just to exceed $20 million in fundraising and has doubled its partnerships with local nonprofits.

"We are operating on a strong foundation," Filipic said. "We're not expecting this to be a walk in the park, but we do expect … that we are well-positioned to make the most of every day."

At the same time, Filipic expressed fears that uninsured consumers will be confused by the possibility of plan renewal available to people already in the exchanges.

"We are putting a ton of effort into developing streamlined messages," she said.

"The reality is the policy behind the scenes is a little complicated … [But] there is an opportunity to have a simple streamlined message that reaches all consumers."

The Obama administration has consistently lowered expectations for enrollment this year.

Just this week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) projected that 9 million to 9.9 million would sign up for the exchanges, far below the 13 million projected by the Congressional Budget Office.

Part of the challenge is finding hard-to-reach uninsured people who know little about health insurance or the exchanges.

"There is no doubt we will have to work harder and smarter," Filipic said. "[But] while the uninsured might be harder to reach, they aren't harder to convince."