Case Study

Client: Colorado Division of Insurance

The Division of Insurance (DOI) is a division of Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). DOI regulates the insurance industry and assists consumers and other stakeholders with insurance issues.

The Challenge

DOI had a communications challenge: how to cut through the hyperbole, confusion and misinformation that accompanied the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. With so many messages coming at people from so many directions, DOI wanted to provide Coloradans with a reliable, trustworthy information about health insurance. 

In 2013, DOI engaged Pushkin PR to create a statewide campaign to educate consumers about their health insurance rights and options. The goal was to help consumers make better healthcare decisions and be better prepared to use their new health plan. 

One of the major challenges was how to reach many different audiences, including the insured, the uninsured, business owners, and the Latino population. In addition, we had to cover the entire state with a limited budget, and deadlines and key messages were constantly changing as states received new direction from Washington. 

The Solution

We began by developing a strategic communications plan focused on several important milestones: the rate review process and the approval of hundreds of new 2014 ACA compliant health plans and premiums; the launch of Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s new health insurance exchange; the open enrollment period for 2014 plans; and the final deadline to sign up for insurance in March 2014.

Working collaboratively with the client, our plan included two primary strategies, earned media and paid media.

Earned media tactics

  • We frequently distributed news releases accompanied by FAQs to statewide media to provide them with background and context.
  • We created a blog series called “Five Things You Should Know” on topics like how to buy health insurance, what to look for in your policy, and what questions to ask your insurance broker.
  • We pitched editorials and guest columns to statewide print media.
  • We conducted media training for DOI spokespeople.
  • We facilitated one-on-one interviews with the Colorado Commissioner of Insurance. 
  • We proactively pitched stories to statewide media.

Paid media tactics
  • We delivered targeted TV advertisements through Comcast.
  • We ran radio ads in mountain areas, plains communities, and on Public Radio.
  • We updated the DOI website content to be search engine optimized, so the information would be easier for consumers to find.
  • We developed a media partnership with Entravision to reach the Latino audience with TV spots and interviews, radio spots, online ads, and a DOI page in Spanish on the Entravision website.

The Results

We secured positive media placements that included our key messages in every media market in Colorado, including TV and print stories, radio interviews, and guest editorials.

Media placements ran in the Denver Post, Colorado Springs Gazette, the Pueblo Chieftain, Craig Daily News, Steamboat Pilot, Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, Summit Daily News, Lamar Ledger, Health News Colorado, Denver Business Journal, Wall Street Journal, Northern Colorado Business Report, Boulder County Business Report, Kaiser Health News, Washington Post, Greeley Tribune, Aspen Daily News, Associated Press, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Durango Herald, Colorado Public Radio, KUNC, KOA, KHOW and all network TV affiliates in Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction.

Using a multi-faceted approach to public relations that employed all the media channels at our disposal, we were able to communicate complex information to diverse stakeholders. Paying careful attention to audience attributes that informed us on how people look for information, what formats they prefer and the type of questions and concerns they have, the information and messages were not only received, but also understood.

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