The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 13, 2013

Blue Cross works to educate Oklahomans on insurance exchange

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

— Open enrollment through the Oklahoma health insurance exchange will begin Oct. 1, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma is working to educate residents on what the advent of the Affordable Care Act will mean to them.

BCBSOK has launched the “Be Covered Oklahoma” campaign, an education and outreach initiative targeting uninsured state residents.

The state’s largest private insurance company is engaging community and civic groups to help Oklahoma’s uninsured residents understand how the new health care law will affect them, and what steps they need to take to access individual health insurance.

Although enrollment will begin in October, health care plans through the exchange will go into effect in January.

According the Ted Haynes, president of BCBSOK, Be Covered Oklahoma isn’t about selling the company’s insurance.

“It’s not sales material,” Haynes said. “It’s educational material. Our whole intent is to educate the people who have never had insurance.”

Ashley Hudgeons, public relations manager for BCBSOK, described the effort as “starting a conversation about the Affordable Care Act and getting ready.”

The Be Covered Oklahoma campaign will work with established community groups, civic organizations, schools and religious institutions to offer educational materials and guidance, in both English and Spanish, to help Oklahomans navigate the changes ahead.

“We’re looking for partner organizations to work with us and get this information out there,” Haynes said.

Individuals and organizations can go to www.BeCoveredOklahoma.org to sign up to receive information about the new federal health care law. The campaign is a first step in starting a conversation with Oklahomans about the new health exchange marketplace and upcoming deadlines.

“We have long been a leader in health education and improvement efforts across the state, and Be Covered Oklahoma is just the latest example of how we are addressing issues related to our state’s health,” Haynes said. “It is important to us that Oklahomans understand the new law, so that they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Be Covered Oklahoma will allow us to work with our valued community partners to provide this information to individuals, as we help guide them through the changes ahead.”

Individuals and organizations interested in this educational effort are encouraged to go to www.BeCoveredOklahoma.org to sign up for more information.

Hudgeons said speakers are available to give formal or information presentations.