Health care connections

Completed 2013

How can we best reach low-income people with needed information about health reform? 
The United Way 2-1-1 Missouri information and referral service receive more than 350,000 calls per year from Missourians seeking help with basic needs such as food, utilities, and rent. Many people nationwide are unclear about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can benefit them and their families. Low-income populations like that which 2-1-1 serves will gain health coverage, some for the first time ever. Through a partnership with 2-1-1, this study hopes to discover how best to reach the populations that will benefit most from the ACA with information that can help them understand the implications of health reform on their lives and families. In this study, we’ll find out what people know and feel about the health reform law. By using social network analysis to find out whom people rely on and whom they talk to about health-related topics, we can find out more about how to best reach them with the information they can trust. 
Word-of-mouth is shown to be an effective marketing strategy for raising awareness, shaping expectations, and reducing uncertainty about products and services. This study explores the effectiveness of word-of-mouth about health reform. 
These study partners with United Way 2-1-1 Missouri, which reaches hundreds of thousands of low-income callers every year with information and referral to resources to help address their basic needs. 2-1-1 systems nationwide could be used to disseminate knowledge of ACA benefits and health services to millions of Americans.