The Nevada Health CO-OP (NHC) launched in 2013 as one of 24 consumer-operated cooperatives across the U.S. created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in order to provide a nonprofit health insurance alternative for Americans seeking to obtain coverage. As the only nonprofit on the state’s health insurance exchange, the NHC was member owned and operated and funded largely by its members’ payments.

In order to build its membership and provide Nevadans with much-needed health insurance coverage during the enrollment period for the state exchange, NHC retained MassMedia in Spring 2013 to implement a public outreach campaign to raise awareness of the NHC brand as a reliable insurance provider.

Because the NHC sought to deliver a brand new insurance plan, it was imperative to go to market as soon as possible. In order to accomplish this task, MassMedia established the goal of raising awareness of the NHC prior to the start of open enrollment on October 1, 2013. Together, MassMedia and NHC’s team determined that its key target audience would include adults throughout Nevada who were not likely to have employer-provided or government-provided insurance. This would include adults who were likely self-employed or underemployed and within a MHI of $24,000 – $50,000.

In January 2013, MassMedia got to work to develop a strategic communications strategy to position NHC as the fair, affordable choice for Nevadans. The strategy consisted of a campaign that called for Nevadans to “reserve their spot” in the NHC, using media relations, online and social media tactics to keep Nevadans informed and engaged leading up to open enrollment. Specifically, MassMedia’s main objectives included:

  • Establishing NHC as the go-to source for local media stories regarding the ACA
  • Collecting 2,000 reservations prior to open enrollment
  • Growing the Facebook fan base to 2,500 likes prior to open enrollment

MassMedia’s media relations team implemented a strategy including two tactics: responding to all media requests for comments and conducting proactive outreach to earn positive exposure. The campaign was to be implemented during Spring 2013 through the final push for enrollments. As talk about the ACA and its effects on consumers continued to be prevalent in local and national media, MassMedia’s team set out to proactively offer NHC representatives as experts and ensure inclusion in local stories on the topic.

MassMedia proactively reached out to local, national and regional reporters to foster their understanding of the ACA and promote NHC representative to speak on the topic. These efforts included coordinating numerous media tours between NHC spokespersons and reporters. MassMedia also pitched positive stories about the NHC’s unique services, including its customer service walk-in center offering free enrollment assistance.

In addition to earned media, MassMedia implemented a community outreach strategy that included seeking out and participating in all community events in which the state exchange program and other insurers would be present. NHC’s team worked alongside MassMedia’s grassroots specialist to talk with members of the community at these events, share information about NHC and secure reservation forms.

MassMedia’s strategy also included the establishing of a Facebook and Twitter page for NHC. By joining the conversation on healthcare topics online, and sharing information regularly, MassMedia’s team of social media strategist were able to quickly grow an engaged fan base to maintain interaction with interested parties leading up to open enrollment.

At the close of the open enrollment period in Spring 2014 the
program achieved the following results: