Hack Night Live: Deep dive into the ACA Outreach App

On April 22nd, Dominique Williams from LISC Chicago and our own Josh Kalov and Christopher Whitaker dropped by the OpenGov Hack Night to talk about the results of the ACA Outreach App.

Hack Nights

Using a combination of tools like Wufoo and Twilio, Smart Chicago is helping LISC with their outreach by building a tool that enables organizers to send text reminders to sign up for health insurance to residents. This was done as part of Smart Chicago’s Civic Works Project. Here’s Christopher Whitaker explaining the project:

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began in October 2013. Across the country, hundreds of agencies are working to get everyone eligible enrolled. Smart Chicago and our longtime partner LISC Chicago, saw that there was an opportunity to make the outreach, enrollment, and follow-up processes as smooth as possible and to use it as a springboard for sustained resident engagement for years to come.

LISC and their partners have received a grant from the State of Illinois to perform outreach and enrollment for the Affordable Healthcare Act in 20 Chicago community areas. Field organizers have gone door to door and canvassed public events to achieve their outreach goals. These field organizers then directed residents to Center for Working Families Centers in each community area to become enrolled.

Here’s Dominique Williams talking about LISC and the Outreach Program.

Using a combination of tools like Wufoo and Twilio, Smart Chicago helped to aid LISC with their outreach by building a tool that enables organizers to send text reminders to sign up for health insurance to residents. We also open sourced this tool in order to help other organizations with similar needs.

Here’s Williams explaining how the connections happened:

To build it, we contracted with civic technologist Josh Kalov. Kalov’s previous civic app work includes schoolcuts.org, Child Care Options during the CTU Strike, and the CTA Poverty Map. He has now set up a new consultancy to work on civic data projects. This role of incubating civic startups is central to our mission at Smart Chicago.

Through a Twilio SMS App, LISC-Chicago sent hundreds of text message reminders to residents to remind them to sign up for the Affordable Health Care app before the deadline. Thanks to the nimbleness of the app, LISC Chicago was able to contact hundreds residents to let them know that the ACA deadline had been extended and that there was still time to sign up.

Here’s Josh Kalov explaining the technical side:

The results were incredible:

During the enrollment period, LISC’s Health Care Navigators have collectively enrolled 2,975 Chicagoans.

Thanks to the Wufoo platform, LISC Chicago was able to track how their navigators did. Since using the tool,  navigators have:

  • Held over 375 educational events to inform residents about the health care law.  These events have been diverse in format and location, demonstrating navigators’ unique knowledge of the communities they serve.  This outreach has taken place at report card pick-up days at schools, church services, flu shot events, career fair days and meetings held by local elected officials, to name a few.  During these outreach events or one-on-one appointments, navigators have made meaningful contact with nearly 27,000 residents.
  • Continued building upon existing relationships with trusted community stakeholders who have the potential to reach large groups of residents with ACA information.  Navigators have enlisted support from a diversity of stakeholders, 400 to date, including but not limited to school principals, church leaders, business owners, and social service providers.

Here’s Dominique Williams talking about how useful it was to have Wufoo keeping track of the information.

And as always, the OpenGov Hack Night presentation ended with a question and answer session:

Smart Chicago continues to partner with community non-profits like LISC Chicago, the Southwest Organizing Project, Mikva Challenge, and the Legal Aid Foundation of Chicago to find ways that technology can support the great work being done by these groups.