| WASHINGTON, June 27
WASHINGTON, June 27 The biggest operator of Blue
Cross Blue Shield health plans is teaming up with the largest
U.S. Spanish-language media network to explain Obamacare to
Hispanics in California, New York, Colorado and Georgia.
A partnership announced on Thursday by WellPoint Inc
, Univision Communications Inc and healthcare
marketer HolaDoctor Inc will include 70 town hall meetings in
the four states, 30-second TV and radio ads, regular newscast
segments devoted to subject and an online insurance center to
guide consumers through the intricacies of coverage.
The initiative, one of many outreach efforts expected in the
coming months to help explain President Barack Obama's
healthcare law, will begin next month and run through March.
America's 52 million Hispanics are a main audience for the
roll-out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,
which will offer health coverage to millions of uninsured people
through new online insurance exchanges in all 50 states and
expanded Medicare coverage in about half the country.
U.S. Census data show that about one in three Hispanics
lacks health coverage, while many have low-to-moderate incomes
that could qualify for Medicaid or federal subsidies to help pay
for private insurance. In California alone, about half of the
2.6 million people with incomes low enough to qualify for
subsidies are Hispanic, according to the administration.
But experts say most Hispanics are unfamiliar with the
health benefits under Obamacare, which comes into full force on
"You really have to start at that square one. People need to
first understand what the value of health insurance is and then
what's coming under healthcare reform," said Robyn Gilson,
WellPoint's staff vice president for multicultural marketing.
WellPoint is expected to become one of the biggest
participants in the new insurance marketplaces, which are slated
to begin enrolling consumers on Oct. 1. The Indianapolis-based
insurer currently sells health plans under the Blue Cross Blue
Shield license in 14 states.
Gilson said WellPoint turned to Univision's television and
radio operations as a trusted voice in the Hispanic community.
New York-based Univision has two broadcast TV networks, 10 cable
networks, 62 local TV stations and 69 radio stations.
California, Colorado, New York and Georgia are all WellPoint
markets with large Hispanic populations.
Depending on the success of the initiative, Gilson said the
outreach effort could be expanded to more areas.