CHICAGO – Tuesday, just a week away from the planned date that health care exchanges are to launch in Illinois, the state of Illinois unveiled “Get Covered Illinois” as the official brand name for its new health insurance marketplace. The online site, where residents are being told they will be able learn about the Federal Affordable Care Act's health care provisions, is not open for examination yet.
In a carefully-worded press release, Governor Quinn's office says the program's name is both a call-to-action and a description of the service this marketplace expects to provide through web, phone and personal interactions with customers beginning October 1.
"Illinois is launching the largest, most ambitious wellness initiative in our state’s history, as well as launching a culture of coverage," said Deputy Governor Cristal Thomas, who serves as one of Illinois' top healthcare officials. "This will take a massive education effort, and it starts with 'Get Covered Illinois.' We wanted a name that was very clear about what this product has to offer."
As part of Governor Pat Quinn's agenda to increase access to healthcare coverage, Get Covered Illinois is the only official website marketplace where Illinois residents can compare eight different insurance company offerings side by side; determine whether they are eligible for Medicaid under newly expanded qualifications; and apply for financial support to help bring down the cost of insurance for them or their families.
C. Steven Tucker, an insurance broker, says he expects the projected lower premiums to be short term, and as the program realizes "young invincibles" are choosing to pay a fine rather than buy into the plan, that the pool of federal insurance funds will diminish and individual premiums will increase.
The brand and logo will be part of a statewide advertising campaign that will begin on October 1 and gradually build through the fall and winter. Uninsured Illinoisans have until the end of March to purchase health insurance through Get Covered Illinois.
“Get Covered Illinois grew out of the hundreds of conversations we had with citizens around the state," said Joe Stuart, Creative Director Partner, Downtown Partners, Chicago. “They wanted a straight-forward, clear approach to promoting the health marketplace, and wanted a strong visual component to the name. We wrapped the shape of the state of Illinois with a “C” to remind people of the marketplace mission – to spread a “Culture of Coverage” in Illinois.”
The orange color palette is decidedly optimistic, representing the colors of sunrise – tied to focus group feedback that October 1 felt like the “dawn” of a new day for those uninsured.
Get Covered Illinois is for any Illinois resident who had insurance, lost it and wants it again; residents who could never afford or obtain insurance before; or for those who have never attempted to get insurance but now must comply with the law.
The Get Covered Illinois website and social media channels will also launch October 1. From October 1st to March 31st, officials expect at least 300,000 people to enroll in health care coverage. Enrollment can take place on the website; on the website with the help of a trained specialist (800 number will be on website); or in person at a state community partner with trained navigators to assist (website will feature community partner locations by zip code).
But the state's website is not yet available for viewing, four days from October 1.