“The intensity is definitely ramping up,” he said, comparing the efforts to reach the uninsured to candidates’ efforts to reach voters. “They are going to hear from us multiple times between now and the end of March until they tell us they have insurance. It’s just like a campaign.”Nicholas Duran, Enroll America’s Florida director - (NYT)
I think March is going to surprise even the supporters of ACA. Yesterday Brainwrap asked the question whether 7 million signups are still possible by March 31st. By all means he is the statistical expert on the current numbers as evidenced by the success of his website ACAsignups.net. But there was something missing from the hopes and predictions about March ending strong and bringing the private coverage signups close to the 7 million mark.
I bring two ideas, the first being FAR more important than the second. The sometimes invisible "campaign" to enroll these millions, and the soon to be seen tax preparation peak season.
Google "Enroll America news" and you can start to see that they are getting busy...in a big way. NYT provides just one glimpse into their work. Enroll America has hundreds of staffers on the ground. Their partner organizations are paying hundreds, if not thousands of canvassers to hit highly targeted doors. And the volunteers are ready to Get-out-the-Enrollment.
When 5 or 6 weeks out, just ONE of their partner organizations is knocking on 18,000 doors a day.....wow. If you follow how field campaigns work, you know they ramp up exponentially towards election day.
Just imagine what March will hold for these well organized and motivated campaigns:
Weather gets a bit warmer in some of the target states like Ohio.
Volunteers have internalized all their training.
Paid canvassers have honed their skills.
And there is nothing like a deadline to make people finally deal with something they had been dreading.
Tax Preparation Peak Season
44% of Americans filed their taxes in the 6 weeks preceding March 31st in 2009 (source). And 21% percent are using online tax software, that this year is alerting people to the online exchanges and options for finding out their eligibility for tax credits to pay for private coverage. I don't have any data on what the demographic of online tax software users are, but judging that they aren't using CPA's (35%) or in-person services (20%), I figure it's nearly the perfect target for the private market exchanges: low income and tech savvy enough to trust themselves to file electronically. The 27% of filers who file in April will miss out on this reminder though.