New Energy At Covered California’s Marketing/Outreach Advisory Group

With only two weeks to go until Covered California open enrollment, it’s no wonder it was standing room only at today’s Marketing, Outreach, and Enrollment Assistance Advisory Group (MOEA) meeting at Covered California headquarters. Chaired by Health Access’ own Anthony Wright, it has been restructured:instead of separate committees representing communities of color groupings (African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Latino), the communities of color groups are integrated with the larger advisory group, but they can also meet apart to generate community-specific input as needed. The discussion already feels more lively and productive under the new structure.

Much of the meeting was spent digesting the lessons from year 1 of open enrollment. As noted in the meeting, Covered California staff have done a good job distilling the lessons, but the real test will be in the execution of processes designed to act on those lessons—community partners play a key role here.

As Peter Lee pointed out, starting next year Covered California will be doing more with less—and with even less in the ensuing years. All the more reason to take the lessons to heart. Here are a few to ponder as you (yes, you, or really anyone else reading this…year 2 open enrollment, being shorter than year 1, will need all-hands on deck)  prepare for open enrollment:

Highlighted Lessons from Year 1 Strategies for Year 2
Overall Covered California exceeded enrollment projections, but it fell short in certain communities, like Latino and African American. Marketing and outreach is more heavily focused on engaging specific communities.
More service center reps speaking foreign languages
Consumers were more likely to choose the best plan (maximizing subsidies and cost sharing assistance to get the best benefit package possible) if they used some form of in-person assistance Connect consumers as much as possible with assisters (enrollment counselors, navigators, and agents), while maintaining the ability to fill out applications by phone and online.
Covered California’s 81% effectuation rate (how many actually pay their first premium or “binder” payment) could be improved. Arrange for all QHPs to take binder payments on Covered California, as the final step in enrollment.  Note to plans: it’s up to you to step up to this opportunity.
Maximize retention. Work with stakeholders and advocates to make the notice clearer for all (much of this process happens in the AB1296 Workgroup)

Here are a few highlights from the subcommittees’ brainstorm on the bus tour, community outreach, messaging, and social media:

  • Partner with high-profile leaders or heroes in targeted communities.
  • Designate ambassadors to get their friends and families enrolled (give recognition and  support and maybe business cards to individuals who go above and beyond in their tweeting or retweeting activities to boost enrollment
  • Hook into local community events like fairs, planning ahead for permits and the like.
  • Train the CEEs (Certified Enrollment Entities) on the right messaging regarding eligibility by immigration status.
  • Engage cell phones in social media campaigns.
  • Use infographics to tell stories with the new messaging on the benefits of insurance.
  • Give community partners ample opportunity to review or collaborate on collateral.

 What can you do now to act on these lessons

  • Click around the Covered CA website. Notice the Find Help Near You button, but note that a new website design will be launched November 8. Prepare to promote the new site.
  • Promote the use of Covered California’s Shop and Compare Tool now, so folks are ready to renew or enroll on November 15:
  • Get your organization ready to piggy back on the Covered CA bus tour and the overall marketing focus on friends helping friends.