The educators got an education yesterday. Covered California, the state's health benefit exchange, held classes in Sacramento and San Gabriel in Los Angeles County for its Certified Educator program that will eventually train 2,000 people to go out into the community and recruit Californians to sign up for the exchange.
"It went well," said Larry Hicks, information officer at Covered California. "This was day two of a two-and-a-half-day training session. This week we expect to train 360 persons. And to date we've trained about 465 people."
"We provide them with an overview of the Affordable Care Act and what the goals are of the ACA and Covered California," Hicks said, "so they can deliver that information to the 5.3 million people eligible for insurance in Covered California."
About half of those eligible may qualify for some kind of financial to help with the monthly premiums, Hicks said.
"We're hoping that, over the course of the next year, we will reach all of those 5.3 million people," he said. Educators will be everywhere, "knocking on doors, at health fairs, at sporting events," Hicks said.
"They will employ all kinds of methods to reach consumers. This will be the first contact for them with our target market," he said.
Covered California has awarded $37 million in grants to community groups throughout the state in an attempt to use existing networks to reach as many people as possible -- particularly those hard-to-reach low-income and non-English-proficient citizens who can't be reached in traditional media campaigns or outreach efforts.
The ad campaign for Covered California -- television, radio, print, billboards, social media -- will launch in August. By that time, Hicks said, the exchange's educators will have already primed people for the insurance coverage choices in Covered California.
"The net is large," Hicks said, "but this has been thought out in a logical, relevant way."
After the training is completed, Hicks said, educators can start conducting their outreach efforts right away.
"Most likely, I believe they'll be starting that work sometime this month," he said.