Get Covered Illinois, the state’s effort to sign up residents for insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state residents with a new marketing campaign this enrollment season.
Included in the effort is a TV ad featuring a gay couple from Chicago that first ran during the Golden Globe Awards red carpet ceremony Jan. 11. The ad coincided with the White House’s LGBT Enrollment Week, which lasted through Sunday.
Jake and Allen, two married Chicagoans, in the ad discuss their experience enrolling through the GetCoveredIllinois.gov portal, noting that the state allows them to enroll as a married couple. Jake comments that the couple gained coverage just before he was diagnosed with appendicitis.
“Thank God we got insurance, because I don’t know what we would have done,” Allen says.
Jennifer Koehler, executive director of Get Covered Illinois, said her team felt it was important that the ads feature real people, not actors, with successful experiences on the health insurance exchanges. The ad is a part of “People Like Me,” a series of ads aimed at a variety of groups.
“Just thinking about the state of Illinois, it’s a very diverse state, and our overall awareness and education campaign has been focused on making sure that the state’s diversity has been reflected in all of the efforts we have undertaken,” Koehler said.
Another component of the effort was an enrollment event in Chicago last Thursday geared toward members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
Individuals in the U.S. identifying as LGBT had an uninsured rate of about 17.6% in the second quarter of 2014, compared with a rate of 13.2% for non-LGBT Americans, according to a Gallup poll.
In the first half of 2014 LGBT adults also were more likely to say they did not have enough money for healthcare needs at least once in the past 12 months, according to Gallup. About 25% of LGBT adults expressed this sentiment, 8 percentage points higher than non-LGBT.
Kellan Baker, a steering committee member with Out2Enroll, a national initiative that works to enroll LGBT individuals on the exchanges, said campaigns like the one in Illinois create an “open door” for LGBT Americans, and helps them understand how they fit into the ACA.
“LGBT people live all across the country … and they’re looking for representations in themselves for what this law means,” said Baker, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. “They’re looking for indications that they’re welcome.”
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