HONOLULU, HI: Milici Valenti Ng Pack has won a $1.2 million contract from Hawaii to promote its health insurance exchange.
The firm will be responsible for market research, communication strategy, and PR to raise awareness about the state's exchange, which it calls Hawai‘i Health Connector. The contract will run through August 2013, with the option to extend for an additional year.
Exchanges are mandated by the Affordable Care Act and work as marketplaces where consumers will buy insurance and insurers will sell plans.
“The goal is to link Hawaii's people, particularly individuals and small businesses, with access to affordable healthcare coverage,” said Rose Hughes, director of communications for Hawai'i Health Connector, in a statement. “To do that, [it] requires a sophisticated system that lays out the health benefits, choices, and costs available, and is easy to understand and navigate.”
The Connector's online marketplace will go live on October 1, 2013, to offer qualified health plans, which will be effective January 1, 2014.
The market research work will enable Connector staff to better understand and develop materials that will raise public awareness statewide. This portion of the contract will include performing surveys and focus groups, according to the RFP for the contract.
As part of the strategy, the full-service communications firm will engage and collaborate with the Connector in statewide “talk-story” sessions, committee meetings, and as needed with advocacy groups. It will also develop public policy communications for informing legislative case workers about the benefits of the Connector.
The PR component of the contract involves story placements in local and national newspapers and media, social media and online communications, town hall meetings, speaking engagements, educational and informational panels, and webinars, according to the RFP. There is a material development component that includes op-eds, PSAs, news releases, articles, and brochures.
"This was a priority for the agency because the health category is an area we've been in and something we've wanted to grow," said Brian Fitzgerald, PR manager at Honolulu-based Milici Valenti Ng Pack. "To promote something that is going to benefit so many people is very exciting for us."
Late last month, Maryland announced it was looking for a PR agency for its exchange; Minnesota hired Himle Rapp & Company for its marketplace; and Arizona let go its ad firm, Moses Anshell, after deciding not to move forward with building its own exchange.