Putting out the welcome mat-targeting outreach efforts under the affordable care act: Evidence from the Minnesota Community Application Agent program

Kristin Dybdal, Lynn A. Blewett, Jessie Kemmick Pintor, Kelli Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Context: An evaluation of the Minnesota Community Application Agent (MNCAA) Program was conducted for the MN Minnesota Department of Human Services and funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration's State Health Access Program grant.

Objective: The MNCAA evaluation assessed effectiveness in reaching disparate populations, explored overall program value, and sought lessons applicable to the Navigator programs required under the Affordable Care Act.

Design: Mixed-methods approach using quantitative analysis of tracking and payment data and interviews with key informants to elicit "lessons learned" about the MNCAA program.

Setting: The MNCAA program offers incentive payments and technical assistance to community partner organizations that assist individuals in applying for public health care coverage.

Participants: A total of 140 unique community organizations participated in the MNCAA program in 2008 to 2012. Outreach staff and directors from participating MNCAAs and state/local government officials were interviewed.

Main Outcome Measure(s): The article highlights a strategy for targeting outreach to individuals eligible for Medicaid coverage or subsidies under the Affordable Care Act by presenting evaluation findings from a unique outreach program to increase access to care for vulnerable populations in Minnesota.

Results: Almost two-thirds of applicants were successfully enrolled but lengthy waiting periods persisted. Seventy percent of applications came from health care organizations. Only 13% of applicants assisted by MNCAAs were new to public health care programs. Most MNCAAs believed that the incentive payment-$25 per successful enrollee-was insufficient.

Conclusions: Significant expertise in enrolling individuals in public health care programs exists within a core group of community organizations. Incentives to leverage the capacity of community organizations must be accompanied by recruiting and training. Outreach providers and navigators also need timely access to client information. More investment in financial incentives will be required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-58
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 11 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


  • Affordable Care Act
  • Application assisters/navigators
  • Health care access
  • Outreach and enrollment


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