SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Following a competitive bidding process, Covered California announced on Wednesday that it has awarded new contracts for marketing and public relations services over the next three to five years to help spread the word that health insurance is within reach for those who are uninsured.

“Covered California will be building on its successes of the first two years and continuing the effort to make sure everyone who needs health insurance is aware of the low-cost options available to them,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. “We’re pleased to be hiring some of the top talent in the nation to support our marketing and communications efforts.”

Campbell Ewald was awarded a three-year marketing contract of $50 million per year, and Ogilvy Public Relations was awarded a three-year contract of $2 million per year. The marketing contract includes funding to purchase statewide television, radio, print, digital and outdoor advertising. Both contracts contain options for renewing for two additional one-year extensions after the conclusion of the third year.

Eight advertising and marketing firms competed for the marketing contract, and four firms competed for the public relations contract.

The request for proposal released by Covered California in March emphasized the importance of bringing deep expertise in reaching Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and African-Americans, as well as millennials and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. All competitors who submitted bids joined with subcontractors specializing in marketing and communicating with these communities in culturally and linguistically appropriate ways.

Campbell Ewald will replace Covered California’s current contractor, Weber Shandwick, which has been the marketing and advertising contractor of record since prior to the exchange opening for enrollment in October 2013. 

“Weber Shandwick helped us successfully launch Covered California’s strong marketing and advertising efforts and can be proud they were part of helping us make history,” Lee said. “They worked hand in hand with us to reach millions of Californians under extremely tight deadlines and helped to launch one of the most successful marketplaces in the country.”

Weber Shandwick created ads featuring Californians who accessed care as a result of the health insurance they were able to purchase through Covered California. Through a sustained multilingual, statewide marketing campaign that ran from the fall of 2014 through February 2015, Covered California enrolled nearly 500,000 people, including a record number of Latinos.

A recent study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation indicates that the percentage of subsidized enrollment by Latinos in Covered California mirrors the percentage of subsidy-eligible Latinos in the target population, making California’s efforts to enroll Latinos some of the most successful nationwide — with 37 percent of those with Covered California coverage in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s survey being Latino, compared with University of California estimates that 38 percent of the subsidy-eligible population in California is Latino. The study also found that Covered California enrollees are more racially diverse than the group of Californians with private coverage, with an increase in African-American enrollment during the second open-enrollment period. Asian and Pacific Islander enrollment in Covered California fell slightly after robust enrollment in the first year.

“We could not be more proud of the success we have had bringing the full diversity of California’s eligible enrollees into the exchange,” Lee said, “and we look forward to continuing these efforts with innovative multicultural and multilingual approaches.”

Campbell Ewald is based in Los Angeles. The company’s contract began on June 1, 2015, and it is helping Covered California to develop a multilingual, multicultural media campaign with the goal of educating consumers about Covered California’s services and maximizing the number of Californians enrolled in health insurance coverage.

Campbell Ewald’s winning proposal for marketing included ideas for reaching key target communities, including Latinos, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and African-Americans. Subcontractors will include Casanova Pendrill, working in Latino marketing; InterTrend Communications, working in Asian and Pacific Islander marketing; and Lagrant Communications, which provides expertise in reaching African-Americans.

“Covered California is eager to begin its new partnership with Campbell Ewald, which presented our review team with unique ideas and thoughtful, culturally relevant messaging that can help us to reach California’s diverse uninsured population,” Lee said.

Ogilvy Public Relations has been the public relations contractor of record for Covered California since 2012. Since then, the company has helped launch the identity of Covered California through brand awareness; media relations support; special projects and events; and long-term, strategic planning. 

“Ogilvy has been a trusted partner over the past several years,” Lee said. “We are eager to continue this relationship and take our communications efforts to the next level.”

Ogilvy’s winning proposal was developed by a team with in-house and subcontractor expertise in reaching Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander, and African-American communities. Subcontractors to Ogilvy will include T&T Public Relations, specializing in working in the African-American community; and Imprenta Communications Group, which specializes in Asian-language media.

About Covered California

Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.

Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit


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