Exchange Plans Ad, Outreach Campaign

On Monday, Covered California officials announced plans for a $94 million advertising and outreach campaign for the coming year, which includes an additional commitment of $14.6 million above what the exchange initially planned for community grants.

The exchange’s second open enrollment period starts Nov. 15 and runs through Feb. 15. Covered California’s Executive Director Peter Lee said people are going to hear about it in a big way.

Lee said the exchange will spend $46 million on the ad campaign for radio, television and social media unveiled yesterday.

“This ad campaign is going to reach every part of California,” Lee said.

The theme of the first commercials is “We’re in.”  In Spanish, it’s “Tengo un Plan.” Ads feature people across California who signed up for coverage during the first open enrollment period talking about how that coverage has worked for them.

“It’s not about glossy ads, it’s about real people telling real stories,” Lee said.

Between Covered California enrollment and Medi-Cal expansion, the state signed up more than three million people to some kind of insurance, which helped reduce the percentage of uninsured in California from 22% to 11%. Lee said health officials aren’t interested in stopping there.

“The number of uninsured has been cut in half. But that’s not enough,” Lee said. “We are well on that path. … We are seeking to get every Californian covered.”

Lee made it a point to say that advertising will be multilingual, with an array of ads placed in other languages, including in Latino and Chinese media outlets.

The community grant program, originally slated to cost $33 million, will get another $14.6 million. That expansion of community outreach is essential to reaching the hard-to-reach in California, Lee said.

The additional $14.6 million will fund efforts by about 220 groups throughout the state, Lee said.

“There are more groups we are not able to fund,” Lee said. “We will continue to work with those groups, we will supply promotional materials and we look forward to partnering with them.”

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