Preparing for the second year of Obamacare enrollment, California unveiled new television ads and handed out $14.6 million to community groups for consumer outreach.
The state-run insurance exchange, Covered California, said the new grant funds are in addition to $33.4 million that has already been given to clinics, unions, schools and nonprofit groups helping with enrollment.
State officials said the new grant money will support more than 220 organizations statewide working on consumer education and enrollment assistance as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Among the grants were $750,000 for AltaMed Health Services Corp. in Los Angeles and Orange counties, $300,000 for Crenshaw Health Partners in L.A. and $225,267 for the city of Long Beach.
The next open-enrollment period begins Nov. 15, and Covered California has two major tasks ahead. It wants to help about 1.2 million enrollees renew their coverage or find a better deal. It also wants to reach more of the state’s uninsured population and expand enrollment to 1.7 million people by mid-February.
But the exchange will have to pull that off in three months — half the time it had during the first six-month enrollment period.
Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, said this next round of outreach will be harder in many ways because so many potential applicants have learned to live without health coverage. He pointed out that 56% of people eligible for federal premium subsidies have gone without health insurance for more than two years and 15% have never had health coverage.
The state aims to reach some of those people with TV ads featuring real-life consumers who signed up this year. The commercials end with the exchange’s previous tagline of “I’m In” or “Tengo un Plan” in Spanish. The TV commercials are the centerpiece of a $46-million ad campaign that also includes radio, print and social media marketing.
“We want these individuals to serve as examples for why getting covered matters,” Lee said. “This ad campaign will reach every part of the state.”
Consumers can check their health plan options and proposed rates for 2015 at Covered California’s online calculator. Regulators are expected to finalize these rates by Sept. 30.