Health Connector effort educates MA uninsured

On July 1, an unprecedented law went into effect in Massachusetts, striving to make sure that all adult residents have health insurance.

On July 1, an unprecedented law went into effect in Massachusetts, striving to make sure that all adult residents have health insurance.

The clock is ticking for the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority, the state agency that administers much of the law, which was tasked with reaching the uninsured with information and assistance to help them enroll in an insurance plan by the December 31 deadline.

Strategy

Health Connector identified three target groups: non-native English speakers, low-income earners, and "invincibles," young men who feel they don't need health insurance. "You don't have to convince people of the value of health insurance," says Tara Murphy, VP of Weber Shandwick, Health Connector's AOR. "You have to convince them it's more affordable, easier to get, and to connect to Health Connector." With limited public funding, the team knew it had to appeal to the good will of the community.
 
Tactics

Focus group research showed that the audience was most receptive to those with whom they could relate. Establishing partnerships and conducting outreach within communities became key with unions, faith-based groups, multicultural media outlets, and companies airing PSAs, in-store radio announcements, and displaying window signage. "The partnerships are very broad, from CVS to Bank of America," says Joan Fallon, Health Connector communications director. The Boston Red Sox also played a role, with an educational booth set up at Fenway Park, inserts in game programs, and a theme night at the ballpark.
 
Results

By July, traffic to the Health Connector Web site tripled, and 130,000 residents were newly enrolled with health insurance providers.
 
Future

WS will continue to work with Health Connector through the end of its contract in December.

PR team: Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority (Boston) and Weber Shandwick (Cambridge, MA)

Campaign: Cover your Bases - Connect to Health

Duration: January 2007-ongoing

Budget: $4 million, with $1 million for PR and $3 million slated for ads

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