Covered California kicked off open enrollment last week with a comprehensive marketing and outreach campaign including ads and a 22-stop bus tour to promote enrollment in health insurance.
The “Covered in Art” bus tour traveled 1,300 miles during the seven days outreach campaign to promote enrollment in health insurance by making stops in cities across California including several in the Central Valley.
“The first thing they (consumers) can expect is more of the same - affordable coverage that is here for the long haul,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California during the statewide bus tour stop in Fresno on Saturday. “It is so important to get the word out. There is a lot of rambles in Washington. Washington has been like a rollercoaster, not California. We’ve been rock solid.”
Lee said that Covered California has 1.1 million people in the state who have signed up with the state’s insurance market place and many of them are getting financial help to bring their insurance plan cost down.
“For 2018, on average, their cost will go down,” Lee said of people getting subsidies. “And we got, statewide, 11 health plans. Same 11 health plans we had last year.”
“We need to get the message out that we are rock solid. That consumers can depend on us for the long haul and they should be using open enrollment to see what is affordable,” Lee said, adding that consumers can go online to coveredca.com to enroll, check plans, etc, and if they need more help, consumer can find local help in their community in their own language.
“They speak English, they speak Spanish, they all speak insurance,” Lee said.
In California, open enrollment, which started on Nov. 1, will run through to Jan. 31, 2018, and it’s the one time of year when anyone who needs health insurance can enroll without having to meet special qualifying conditions.
However, consumers need to enroll by Dec. 15 for coverage starting Jan. 1.
The ‘Covered in Art’ bus tour started in Los Angeles on Nov. 1. Then, the bus traveled to San Diego before turning north through Huntington Beach, Wilmington, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield, Visalia, Fresno, Modesto, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Salinas, San Jose and Oakland between Nov 1 and Nov. 7.
In Fresno, Covered California bus stopped at Clínica Sierra Vista on Divisadero Street.
Lee said when they decided to do a bus tour for this enrollment period, “we wanted to make the point that we were woven in to local communities throughout California.”
As part of the campaign, Covered California sponsored a dozen murals on locations in communities across the state where local artist are painting permanent murals at community clinics, hospitals, etc., to promote health and attract attention to places where Californians can enroll.
“This is an example of one of them,” said Lee of the mural at Clínica Sierra Vista, which is titled “Healthy and Unity Through Diversity” and will be 10 feet tall and 53 feet wide.
The mural was created by Raphael Delgado, a northern California based artist whose work explores a broad range of styles and mediums.
Lee said the message of the murals conveys “art, health, wellness, and the importance of getting covered.”
“We want to support local community, just like local community have been supporting us,” Lee said.
The bus tour is being supplemented by a new statewide advertising campaign with the message “Life can change in an instant,” to drive home the message that anyone can find themselves suddenly needing health insurance, Covered California officials said.
The new television ads began airing on Wednesday, Nov. 1 run during Game 7 of the World Series before millions of viewers statewide.
The advertising campaign includes ads in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean and Vietnamese.
According to Lee, Covered California have new tools that make it easier to shop and easier to find resources in other languages as well as for consumers to enroll on their cell phones.
“If you are confuse, I understand, but you don’t need to be,” Lee said. “You can get clear information at Covered California, coveredca.com, and through there you can find local help in your community, throughout the Central Valley there is literally thousands of insurance agents, community groups ready to help you. You got to them, find them online, but go in person, and they can help you across the table.”
Lee want to reiterate that enrolling with Covered California is “free, confidential, and you don’t need to be confuse. Get help and get covered.”