A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 49% of Americans don’t have enough information to know how the health care reform law will impact their family. This percentage spikes to 58% among the uninsured and 65% among Hispanics. With Covered California’s announcement of $37 million in grants for outreach and education, they are hoping to drastically shrink those percentages between now and December 31, 2013. [download id=”64″]
Covered California outreach to a global village
In California there are over 100 different languages spoken. Covered California awarded grants to various organizations that will target 13 different languages: Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, English, Farsi, Hmong, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. The bulk of California’s $43 million in federal funds for outreach and education, $37 million, will be spent to reach the estimated 5 million residents without health insurance in a state that has residents from around the globe.
One on One conversations
The outreach and education grants are not meant to enroll people in health insurance through Covered California. The main focus is just to spread the word about the ability to purchase health insurance, subsidized for many people, through the new exchange. While we will certainly see or hear some foreign language advertisements for Covered California created by the grant recipients, the real thrust is for the organization to meet with the targeted audience, one on one, at churches, fairs, cultural events, clubs, clinics or at in-home gatherings.
More proposals than money
There were 203 grant applications to Covered California for outreach and education funding. 26 proposals targeted small business and the remaining 177 focused on individual consumers. Many of the proposals also included working with subcontractors to increase their penetration into the target markets. A majority of the individual marketplace proposals specified work in a single county while the remainder was split between multi-county and statewide operations. The reverse was true for the small business proposals where 12 of the 16 proposals sought funds for statewide campaigns. [download id=”62″]
Grants based on estimated individuals reached
All of the proposals were evaluated on their stated ability to reach a specific number of individual contacts. This was also a determiner for the level of grant funding:
|Total Award Size||Suggested Individual Contacts|
Variety of target audiences
In addition, proposals were reviewed to see if they could spend at least 70% of their funding on in-depth messages or one on one discussion with the targeted audience. Covered California also put an emphasis on targeting
- Uninsured students
- Restaurant and food service
- Unions and Uninsured Employed Workers
- Healthcare providers: doctors, nurses, etc.
- Faith-based outreach
- Under served demographic populations such as Hispanic, African American and the LGBTQ communities
Technical review looked at financials
All of this information, plus more, was combined with the applicant’s organizational and financial strength for a final evaluation. As originally planned, 48 organizations were selected for outreach and education grant funding.
In the individual market, the largest grant was $1.25 m and the smallest was $250,000
- California State University Los Angeles $1.25 million
- Solano Coalition for Better Health and Valley Community Clinic $250,000
All of the Small Business Health Options Program grants went to statewide proposals with a range between $300,000 and $1 million
- Small Business Majority $1 million
- CalNonprofits $300,000
This information was gleaned from Covered California public files [download id=”63″]
Will small businesses listen to the message?
The overwhelming majority of the funds in the individual market are allocated to organizations targeting specific counties. This should reduce overlap and redundancy of one person getting the same message from five or six different organizations. Without reading the proposals, I am not really sure how the SHOP outreach programs are going to educated small businesses. There is still a big question as to whether small businesses are going to bite the healthcare reform bait of tax credits or not.
Let the marketing begin
All most all of the grantees have some experience with public relations and marketing. It will be interesting to see the type of marketing and education material the different organizations will develop. Regardless of how wonderful an organization may believe health care reform is, they still have to sell the individual, family or small business that it is in their best interest to enroll. I hope someone tracks the effectiveness of campaigns across the different grants to see what does and doesn’t work.