COURTESY OF IHIM MEDIA

CHICAGO – Get Covered Illinois (GCI) is kicking off the final month of enrollment for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace with a week of activities around the state dubbed “GCI Week.” The events are designed to raise awareness that the clock is ticking toward the March 31 deadline to sign up for affordable, comprehensive health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The month-long push will feature a statewide “Road 2 Coverage” mobile RV tour launching this Saturday at an enrollment event from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Juarez Community Academy in Chicago (1450 W. Cermak Rd). 

“As we get down to the wire for enrollment, it is critical that we reach uninsured residents and motivate them to take action to get covered before the March 31 deadline,” said Jennifer Koehler, executive director for Get Covered Illinois. “Get Covered Illinois is on the road and conducting outreach to increase awareness about health coverage and connect with uninsured residents in their communities.” 

The Road 2 Coverage RV will be deployed statewide and will act as a moving billboard for Get Covered Illinois, making high-visibility stops in communities with high numbers of uninsured residents. During the first few weeks of March, the RV will be visible in the Chicago area, Marion, East St. Louis, Rockford and other locations. 

Get Covered Illinois outreach teams will be at each Road 2 Coverage stop providing enrollment information and referrals to local enrollment locations. Local certified navigators will also be on hand to answer questions about the ACA and schedule enrollment appointments.

The interactive, family-friendly RV will feature music and other entertainment, and visitors will have the opportunity to share their stories at an on-site video booth about why they signed up, or why they want and need coverage. The stories will be shared via Get Covered Illinois social media channels using the hashtag #Road2Coverage. 

Other GCI Week activities and outreach efforts to reach uninsured residents include:

  • A GCI Week Proclamation from Gov. Pat Quinn highlighting the critical importance of the opportunity to enroll in a health plan by March 31, and the Governor’s commitment to improving the health of the people of Illinois and increasing access to quality, affordable health care. 
  • The release of two PSAs, one featuring Wilmette native Pete Wentz (the bassist of popular rock band Fall-Out Boy); and another starring three well-known actors from hit a TV show based in Chicago.                                                                         
  • An Enroll-a-Thon hosted by CBS TV on Monday between 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. and 6:00 – 6:30 p.m. during which 20 navigators will be on site to answer questions and start the enrollment process for people who call in. GCI representatives will also be in the studio to answer viewer’s questions. 
  • A half-hour GCI roundtable discussion hosted by WMAQ TV and Telemundo on Saturday, March 8, at 6:00 p.m. where GCI leaders will discuss health coverage programs and services, and key enrollment deadlines and opportunities for the uninsured. 
  • Get Covered Illinois has partnered with BuzzFeed, the popular social news and entertainment website, to develop and publish sponsored content as part of its strategy to reach young residents who need to sign up for health coverage. The partnership calls for five sponsored articles extending through March 7. The website sees over 160 million unique monthly visitors according to Reuters, 60% are 18-34 years old. The BuzzFeed partnership joins GCI’s recently announced partnership with The Onion to create content designed to reach young uninsured residents (who comprise 53 percent of Illinois’ uninsured population).  
  • Lighting up prominent buildings and landmarks (in GCI Orange) at the Soldier Field Colonnades, Little Village Arch, Pilsen Eagle and the Logan Square Monument.

In terms of the Road 2 Coverage Mobile Tour, its weekend destinations will include:

Saturday, March 1 

9:00 a.m. – noon

Juarez Community Academy

1450 W. Cermak Road, Chicago 

Sunday, March 2

1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Trinity Church of Christ

400 W. 95th Place, Chicago

The RV will head downstate later in the week and make its first stop outside of the Chicago area in Marion. For a full list of #Road2Coverage stops, follow Get Covered Illinois on Facebook and Twitter, and the hashtag #Road2Coverage to get the latest tour updates. 

As the deadline to enroll nears, Get Covered Illinois is ramping up enrollment efforts to engage the uninsured across the state through a mix of traditional and non-traditional sources. In the next 31 days, Get Covered Illinois is reaching out to residents of all ages across the state through outdoor, digital, radio and TV promotions and in-person events. 

“Illinois residents have a tremendous opportunity to access quality coverage,” said Koehler. “Even those with pre-existing conditions can get covered and most uninsured residents will qualify for financial help to make coverage more affordable. Residents must remember to enroll by March 31 to take advantage of the health benefits without paying a penalty. But why wait? Why risk a fine? The time to act to get covered is now.”

 

As of Jan. 31, 88,602 Illinois residents have selected a private health care plan through the federal website since Oct. 1. In addition, more than 182,000 Illinois residents have enrolled in Medicaid under the ACA, bringing to more than 270,000 the total number that have gained access to health coverage in the state. 

Get Covered Illinois is urging health care consumers to take advantage of the assistance that is being offered via the web, over the phone and in person through hundreds of community partners across the state:

  • Visit our website at GetCoveredIllinois.gov (which includes a Spanish-language version).
  • Call the Get Covered Illinois Help Desk at 866-311-1119. Operators are available each day from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  
  • Meet in person with a specially trained “Navigator” who can help you understand your options and help you even enroll at one of the hundreds of partner sites across the state. There are more than 1,500 Navigators throughout the state that can be located by visiting the website and entering your zip code or through the help desk. 

Follow Get Covered Illinois on: 

Facebook: facebook.com/coveredillinois

Twitter: @CoveredIllinois

Hashtag: #GetCoveredIllinois
               #Road2Coverage