SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Building on high enrollment in 2014, Covered California launched its community outreach campaign for 2015 on Monday, including new grants to community groups and a comprehensive advertising campaign aimed at attracting new consumers and encouraging them to enroll in the state’s health benefit exchange.
“Today we are sharing stories about real people whose lives have been changed by the coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “We are building on the partnerships across the state to provide new grants to community groups to engage people directly and help them get the coverage they need.”
The new series of ads, which feature real Californians who have health coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act, will begin rolling out this week in markets statewide. The ads can be downloaded at https://vimeo.com/coveredcalifornia/videos/.
“Our campaign on the airwaves will support our community outreach campaign by making tangible the benefits of getting covered,” Lee said. “But even more importantly, we hope these ads will foster conversations at family dinners, in churches and in schools — where Californians will be talking about the benefits of having coverage and making sure no one who is eligible for coverage goes without it. Beyond these conversations, we will build on an expansive network of thousands of Certified Enrollment Counselors, Certified Insurance Agents and county eligibility workers helping people learn about insurance and enroll.”
The campaign includes $46 million in new statewide advertising and $14.6 million in new community outreach grant funding. This new funding, combined with approximately $33.4 million in funds that community outreach groups will spend in the coming months for renewal and enrollment, brings Covered California’s investment in this community outreach campaign to $94 million for 2015.
Selected organizations will receive between $50,000 and $750,000 in grants, based on their experience with special populations defined by common characteristics — such as language, ethnicity, geography and employment sector — and their ability to effectively educate and enroll Californians and help individuals with Covered California coverage renew their insurance.
The grant award period is from Oct. 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. A list of grantees and amounts received is available at http://hbex.coveredca.com/enrollment-entities/.
Supported by the federal funding provided under the Affordable Care Act, new grants will support the existing Covered California Outreach and Education Program and in-person enrollment assistance programs.
Lee said that the experiences from the first year are guiding how community partners will go about reaching target populations in this renewal and open-enrollment period.
Informational materials that are culturally relevant and in multiple languages will be offered to specific communities to help improve the health literacy of those who have been uninsured and to explain the financial and practical importance of having health coverage.
“We learned some important lessons in year one,” Lee said. “We know how important it is for consumers to get one-on-one help from trusted sources in their communities where they live, work and play.”
Open enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2014, and continues through Feb. 15, 2015, but Covered California will be reaching out to those with insurance in October to get them ready for renewing their coverage.
Covered California anticipates a total enrollment of 1.7 million Californians by the end of the coming open-enrollment period — 1.5 million in subsidized coverage and 230,000 in unsubsidized coverage. This forecast represents an increase of about 500,000 in total enrollment (43 percent).
Covered California’s enrollment projection model considers experience to date and feedback from experts regarding expectations about future growth. The projection considers current enrollment, individuals who are eligible for subsidies but not enrolled, disenrollment and individuals who may transition to Covered California from Medi-Cal or employer coverage.
“We’ve come a long way in California,” Lee said. “Recent studies show California has dramatically reduced the number of uninsured people, but there’s more work to do. With these stepped up education and enrollment efforts, we will continue working to reach as many Californians as possible to give them the peace of mind that comes with having the coverage and care they need.”
About Covered CaliforniaCovered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.